The mystery of the unidentified bag of mixed bulbs

I’ve started clearing out the garden shed in anticipation of the coming spring. This is usually the job I put off until last of the winter garden chores – like most gardeners I hate clearing the shed, but it is an annual job which must be done. Obviously once the job is done it is satisfying to see a tidy shed cleared of accumulated debris but one of the perks I do like about this job is finding long forgotten gardening bits and pieces – one year I even found an old electric lawn mower I’d completely forgotten about!

Anyhow this year I found a small burlap sack lying in a corner labelled simply “spring bulbs”. I opened it up to find a mixture of bulbs which needed identifying before planting out. Even though it is a little late for planting spring flowering bulbs as ideally these should be well bedded in before the end of November, I’m still going to plant these out because we haven’t had any deep frosts yet and the ground is still quite soft and the bulbs have even started sprouting on their storage sack.


There were 46 bulbs in the sack and I sorted these out into five different bulb types as you can see in the pictures. Now on to identification:


The easiest bulbs to identify were the three largest ones. Their relatively large size, uniform shape and most of all their purple skin coupled with the juicy green shoots emerging from their tops told me these were doubtless a type of hyacinth.


The second largest were a group of eight reddish brown skinned bulbs with white flesh – their size and colour indicate a tulip bulb but what really convinced me is the way that their heads bend over ever so slightly.

Muscari Latifolium – Grape Hyacinth

I think these smallish white bulbs are muscari latifolium also known as grape hyacinths; not because they are related to the hyacinth family but due to their purply blue pea shaped blooms. The main clue is their mass of dried roots at the bottom of the bulb which is a common feature of these bulbs

Crocus – Dwarf Daffodil??

The last two types of bulb have left me puzzled – I think they are either crocus and or daffodil tete a tete. I suppose I’ll just have to plant them and wait and see unless any of the readers have any suggestions?

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