GLENCOE, IL (July 21, 2014) – The Fall Bulb Festival provides seasonal family fun on the Esplanade and an extraordinary selection of more than 200 types of bulbs, ranging from the most popular daffodils to new and unusual varieties of hyacinth, tulips and more. The festival will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, October 10, through Sunday, October 12, 2014. The bulb sale begins on Friday with special preview shopping for Garden members only, and is open to the general public on Saturday and Sunday.
“Nowhere else can you find so many different bulbs at once,” said Stephanie Lindemann, manager of horticultural events. “We’ll have 64 types of tulips, 67 narcissus, 15 alliums, which are early summer favorites, and 89 specialty bulbs. Gardeners get an incredible feeling of excitement when they see such variety.”
The bulbs are shipped directly from Holland just in time for fall planting. Their consistent high quality draws repeat customers, but shoppers also look for the “wow factor” from the latest bulbs on the market. “We change the palette to include both fan favorites and something new each year,” Lindemann said. For the first time, the Garden is carrying a hybrid narcissus called Narcissus ‘Frosty Snow’, which matures to a pure white bloom. Gardeners seeking the palest of pink hyacinth will find it in Hyacinthus orientalis ‘Pink Elephant.’ A new tulip, Tulipa ‘Flaming Spring Green’, boasts ivory petals streaked with apple green and red flames. According to Lindemann, “It’s very dramatic.”
Special bulb blends can provide gardeners with splashes of color. Choices include mixes of muscari, crocus, narcissus and tulips. An Anemone blanda blend gives gardeners a palette of pink, white and purple blooms. Gardeners considering anemone should know the trick to planting them. “Soak them overnight and plant them on their sides,” Lindemann said. “That’s the great thing about this event. That type of information is readily available.” Expert staff and volunteer master gardeners will be on hand to give tips on planting and caring for the diverse bulb varieties.
In addition to Friday’s preview shopping event, members can also participate in an online sale offering a five percent discount on 32 varieties of bulbs sold in bulk quantities of 50 of 100. The online sale runs from September 1 through 30. Orders can be picked up during the festival.
“We see the online sale as one more reason to become to a member,” Lindemann said. “When you join the Garden, you receive so many benefits ranging far beyond the Fall Bulb Festival.”
The festival also provides one of the earliest opportunities to purchase bulbs for holiday décor and gifts. Shoppers can select from 15 different amaryllis varieties, ranging from petite to large to double-blossomed. “We carry many bulbs that are great for forcing for indoor blooms,” Lindemann said. “Paperwhite narcissus has a graceful white flower and fills a winter room with fragrance. It looks fresh and lovely when combined with evergreens.”
Gardeners can also find a selection of fall-blooming mums, asters, and pansies, and six types of peonies, which provide showy blossoms in late spring. According to Lindemann, “Peonies pair beautifully with bulbs, and fall is a perfect time to plant them.” Purchases can be checked at a special “bulb valet” table staffed by volunteers, for visitors wishing to stroll other parts of the Fall Bulb Festival or see more of the Garden.
A seasonal marketplace will offer mushrooms, fresh produce, honey, roasted nuts, baked goods, handmade pottery and other wares. Visitors of all ages can also enjoy a straw bale maze, gourd tower, live music and family drop-in activities.
The Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society presents the annual bulb sale. Proceeds from this year’s event support fellowships for the plant biology and conservation program, offered jointly by the Garden and Northwestern University.
The festival is generously supported by JULIE, Inc. and NorthShore University HealthSystem, which is sponsoring a family-friendly obstacle course on the Esplanade.