Hi Andrew ~
Bulbs are always a welcome gift for the gardening enthusiast (as well
as gift certificates for bulbs), and I think that is a great idea! I
suspect someone will be very touched by your thoughtfulness.
Below are a few reputable bulb dealers with an online presence to give
you an idea of what's out there and a fair price comparison.
1.) The Bulb Lady
For many years, my favorite place to purchase bulbs for years has been
The Bulb Lady, owned by the Van Bourgondien family in Babylon, New
York. This is a family tradition started over 200 years ago in
Holland, and even Martha Stewart took her show there to look at their
Their web site has everything you want, and more:
* pictures in full glorious color
* more variety than you can shake a stick at
* Internet specials
* Gift certificates
* Guarantees and customer service that is terrific
* A toll-free number for help
Their site is located here:
And be sure you ask for a catalog, they're beautifully done and have
their 'newest' hybrids as well.
But Wait - There's More
Here are some other bulb sources from whom you can order.
2.) Tulip World
Also of great reputation is Tulip World, which deals internationally
in tulip bulbs. They have an astounding assortment of tulips in so
many colors and shapes. Their website is here:
Alas, they don't offer gift certificates (because of the currency
fluctuations), but they do have a gift of bulbs which is great for
information on the meaning of the different colors. That information
3.) Jackson & Perkins
Jackson & Perkins is noted for its roses, but it is just starting a
"Bulb of the Month Club" in December, 2003, which comes with a
"fragrant bulb garden in a basket" for the December gift:
and then sends a new bulb every month. More information on this (and I
think it would be a great gift for any gardener) can be found here:
If their bulbs are half as good as their roses, you're sure to be in
safe hands for ordering from them.
4. Michigan Bulb Company
Another company of good reputation is the Michigan Bulb Company. They,
too have a beautiful catalog and gift certificates available, although
you cannot currently use the gift certificate online (you have to call
their toll-free number).
Their site (bulb section) is here:
5. Fork & Spade
This is another full-service garden retailer with tools, instructions,
advice, etc., about planting and gardening. They do have a bulb
section with lots of bulbs and information here:
They don't have gift certificates, but they do have a good reputation
among the members of the garden club.
Information About Flowering Bulbs
Growing bulbs isn't really that hard. There are regions where people
just let them "do their thing" and they manage to push their heads up
about the right time each spring in a riot of color ... Salt Lake City
comes to mind with all the tulips, irises, and other bulbs which just
show up and bloom, even if the gardeners are less than attentive.
However, a dedicated gardener will want more information than "stick
it in the ground" and hope for the best.
For a good point of reference, I would recommend the The
Interenational Flower Bulb Centre -
This is an excellent source of information about such things as 'where
to buy', 'when to plant', and the US region for specific types of
bulbs. They, too, have some stunning color photos.
Other good resources about bulbs are:
* Bob Vila
* Dutch Gardens (and they have that stunning red/white amaryllis
In addition to The Bulb Lady's site which I have bookmarked, I used
the following search terms in Google:
- flowering bulbs
- growing flowering bulbs
Let me congratulate you on your thoughtful and terrific gift idea. Any
gardener, whether an amateur or experienced gardener should be very
happy with a gift like this. I recommend The Bulb Lady because I have
dealt with them for so many years, but I know the others I mentioned
are considered of good repute as well, and you should be safe ordering
from any of them.
Good luck, and Merry Christmas,
Google Answers Researcher