Blog posts from December 2012

Lots to do in the garden!

Dec 27, 2012

Have a gift card to your local garden center burning a hole in your pocket? Think there's not much to do in your Texas garden this time of year? Don't worry, there's lots to do!

Sapho tomato

Now's the time to pick up your onion slip for planting in January (in Texas), pick up specialty seed potatoes for February planting and get your seed starting supplies and equipment set up! This weekend will also be your last good shot at planting your tulip bulbs. Also, you know you have to start those tomato seedlings next week, right?!!

Hello 40…

Dec 11, 2012

So I've always had this goal to be my own boss by the time I was 40. Since that happened TODAY, the turning 40 thing that is, I decided that it was high time to make good on that deal with myself. So I Thelma & Louise'd it a couple of weeks ago, created my very own fiscal cliff and drove right off it!


As of 12/29/12 I will officially be a free agent full time with Halleck Horticultural. I will be providing horticultural, marketing and business consulting for green industry businesses. I will also continue providing residential horticultural consults. This move will also free me up for more garden writing, teaching, media and keeping my blog up to date here at growLively!

I've had an awesome eight-year run as general manager for North Haven Gardens here in Dallas. I love the business, staff and customers and I'm still highly invested in its success. The plan is for me to continue working with NHG as a consultant so I can help keep up the "awesome".

Happy birthday to me! And happy gardening to you! I look forward to many new gardening adventures in 2013...


Is it time to plant tulips yet?

Dec 2, 2012

Down here in the South, we have to pre-chill our tulips each fall in order for them to have an adequate vernalization and initiate a flower bud. It's a pain. But, tulips are gorgeous and I always find it worth my while to repeat this task each season. Typically, we can start planting our pre-chilled tulips in the garden after Thanksgiving, once soil temps have reached about 50F. Well folks, if you haven't noticed, it's still 80F outside here in North Texas, and many parts of Texas. Soil temperatures are simply not yet where they need to be in order to plant your tulips. Honestly, I never plant my tulips until about the 3rd week of December, here in Dallas. After my tour of duty at the Dallas Arboretum, where I was responsible for planning and scheduling all of the color and bulb installations (we planted abouta bizillion), I know a think or two about doing tulips right.

Tulip maureen

One of my favorite single late tulips, 'Maureen', in my garden mixed with Dutch Iris 'Imperator'

Don't plant to early, but don't plant to late either. My advice, keep those tulip bulbs chilling for now. If you don't have one, invest in an inexpensive soil thermometer. Start checking soil temperatures next week, a couple of times per week, to see where they are heading. My bet is still always on the 3rd week of December as the optimal planting window. Get them in the ground by end of December. Don't wait until January. Plant deep...6"-8", no exceptions. Then add 2" of mulch on top of your tulips plantings.

Have trouble with squirrels digging up your precious bulbs? Once you've set your bulbs in their planting hole, cut out a piece of chicken wire and lay it on top of the bulbs, then cover with soil. The squirrels will have a much tougher time getting to them that way!

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