Blog posts categorized as: Bulbs

Daffodils Are On Their Way…

Mar 10, 2017

Daffodils are about to throw down in Dallas.

If you love daffodils like I do, then you might also be tapping your fingers on the window whilst repeating “open, open, open…”. Daffodils are just about to throw down in Dallas. You may have seen a handful pop open just before this last ice event. While it might be tough for some of those blooms to recover, there are plenty on the way that have yet to open. If you want to add daffodils to your garden this fall, now is the time to start paying attention to what’s blooming so you can pick your

Narcissus ‘Professor Einstein’ dressed smartly in orange.

Planting these easy-to-grow bulbs is one of the best things you can do to brighten up late-winter landscapes. With at least 25 different species of Narcissus spp., and more than 13,000 hybrids available, possibilities seem endless. Mail order catalogs offer the most variety when it comes to purchasing daffodil bulbs, but choosing the right ones can be like rolling the dice. While traditional yellow trumpet daffodils are the most recognized daffodils, they certainly aren’t the only choice for Texas gardens. In fact, many of of the trumpet daffodils can leave you disappointed if you were hoping to perennialize or naturalize your bulbs. Large-cupped, Small-cupped, Triandrus and Jonquil hybrids tend to perform better in our climate and soils.

Here are a few of my less traditional daffodil favorites:

‘Thalia’ (Triandrus daffodil) If you love white flowers then ‘Thalia’ should be at the top of your list. This tough and reliable perennial creates large clumps and features pure white flowers with a wonderful fragrance. Each stem produces clusters of 2 to 3 blooms. A late-bloomer, ‘Thalia’ will close out the daffodil season in April.

Narcissus ‘Thalia is stunning in white.

‘Professor Einstein’ (Large-cupped daffodil) I can’t resist a pop of bright orange in my garden, so ‘Professor Einstein’ is a must-have. The bright orange cups paired with pure white petals creates a showstopping combination.  This award-winner is a good perennializer in our climate.

‘Chromacolor’  (Large-cupped daffodil) I have a hard time resisting the peachy-pinked cupped daffodils as well…I’d have to say ‘Chromacolor’ is the best of them.  The huge flowers can reach 5-inches in diameter with an intense coral to pink cup.  One-of-a-kind and gorgeous.

Fresh in White

Mar 23, 2016

It’s that time of spring when, in amongst a cacophony of color, white flowers slip onto the scene and steal the show. The first white irises just started blooming around town, which for me is always the official signal that spring has arrived. While color plays a big role in my garden, so do accent neutrals like white and silver. White flowers help soften the feel of a landscape, bring sophistication and light up the evening garden. Here are a few of my favorite fresh in white spring bloomers:

Iris ‘Immortality’. How much more white could this be? The answer is none, none more white.

Whites are always the first of the bearded iris to grace our gardens in spring. There is none more beautiful, in my humble opinion, than ‘Immortality’. This cultivar produces masses of huge pure white blooms that are also fragrant. Bearded iris are one of these toughest and most prolific of our water-wise perennials. Plant them with abandon!

Summer Snowflake

It might just now be spring, but the summer snowflakes have officially arrived. One of my favorite perennial bulbs for Dallas gardens, summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum), is blooming right now.  Native to North Africa and the Mediterranean region, this hardy bulb is one of the easiest to grow and naturalize in Texas. While the common name is summer snowflake, this bulb actually blooms in spring for us. Bulbs produce clumps of dark green strap-like foliage followed by flower clusters that each develop several white bell shaped blooms. Flowers are mildly fragrant and sport small green dots at the ends of the petals. If you love lily of the valley, but have finally accepted they just won’t grow here, this will be your closest substitute in our climate. Plant in sun to part shade in perennial borders or ground cover beds.

Tulip ‘Maureen’

I’m a big fan of tulips…despite the fact that you pre-chill and plant new bulbs each year. I can’t imagine my spring garden without them. There’s never been a single year when I haven’t planted ‘Maureen’, my go-to pure white tulip. This sturdy and reliable variety never disappoints. The blooms are long-lasting and provide bright contrast to darker flowers and foliage in the garden. They’ll also practically glow in the dark, making them perfect for your moonlight garden.

Narcissus ‘Thalia’

Narcissus ‘Thalia’ may appear delicate and dainty, but it’s a Texas tough and water-wise perennial bulb. ‘Thalia’ grows in clusters that multiply each year and produce masses of pure white, fragrant blooms.  Plant in the sunniest of locations or in part shade. ‘Thalia’ makes the perfect companion for roses and salvias in the perennial border, or planted naturally along the edge of wooded areas.

Boost Your Bulb Sales

Oct 28, 2015

Full article in the October issue of Garden Center Magazine.

The bulb category is a highly diverse and versatile one for garden centers and home gardeners. The key to selling more bulbs is to make sure you’re maximizing your marketing opportunities and selling strategies year-round. How you stock and market your bulbs will greatly impact when, how many and how quickly they sell. (For simplicity’s sake, in this article we’ll use the term “bulb” to encompass all true bulbs, rhizomes, tubers and corms.)


Speeding up inventory turns and improving cash flow is always a top priority for independent garden centers. So how do you do that with bulbs? Essentially, bulbs are a hard good line that gives you much more flexibility in terms of when you buy them and how you maintain them in the store. You’re probably already pre-booking most — if not all — of your bulbs. So why not pre-sell them to your customer?

Pre-selling inventory is a great way to get cash into the register long before you receive the product or have to pay for it. Pre-selling will take a bit of organization and accounting adjustments on your part, but it’s well worth the effort. Pre-selling product also gets customers back into the store for extra visits when they come to pick up their orders. Most POS systems will enable you to set up work orders and paid pick-ups for such pre-orders.

...Read the entire article HERE.

Plant Irises in Fall for Spring Blooms!

Sep 12, 2014

Oh, I just love irises. It's hard not to love plants that are tough-as-nails in our Dallas gardens and look great. So do you have to wait until spring when irises are blooming to plant them? No way! Fall is a much better time to plant irises and when you're bound to find a better selection of variety in the garden centers or online, especially in bare root form. This fall I'll be adding more 'Orange Glaze' to my garden.

Iris 'Thornbird'

White Flowers: Sophisticated and Serene

Mar 30, 2014

I love spring. I love bulbs. I love watching my plants. Every day, usually multiple times per day, I go out to my garden and just stare. It's very zen. Observing even the tiniest bits of progress by each plant in their march towards emergance, new growth and blooms. It's always confused my neighbors. "What are you looking at?", they've always said as I stare at what is often bare soil. "My prized babies", I say.


Many people in Texas would say that it's just not worth planting tulips because they don't perennialize here. Psshaw, I say. They are glorious and worth every penny to re-plant each fall. I always select several colors that I want either to bloom together or in sequence. For this spring's display, I chose 'Passionale', a mid-season blooming purple triumph tulip to bloom first, along with 'Lightning Sun', a blazing orange mid-season blooming Darwin Hybrid. Purple was the first color to emerge in my garden, then along came orange. Purple and orange tulips together make a stunning combination. Paired with them were mid-season blooming white and orange 'Professor Einstein' daffodils.

Now that the purple tulips are fading and the orange will soon be finished, my later-season blooms are coming into play in white. White flowers create such a clean, sophisticated and fresh feel in the garden. A palette cleanser if you will between the vibrant bulb colors of early spring and the wild mix of roses and spring blooming perennials soon to come. Tulip 'Maureen', a white single late variety, candytuft (Iberis) a tough perennial, and my favorite late-blooming daffodil 'Thalia'. Assorted silver foliage plants, such as artemisia and lamb's ear make the perfect frame for the crisp white flowers.

Ah....white in the garden. It's like a breath of fresh air, wouldn't you say?

Gardening No-No: Planting tulips in rows.

Mar 27, 2014

I've decided I have to start a blog series called "Gardening No-No". I'm witness to far, far too many hijackings of horticulture by those who obviously know not of what they do. First up in my series of "please don't do its" is THIS hot mess:

Tulip row

Don't do this.

Ok...really? And this is not an isolated incident. First off, don't plant tulips in rows. It's a Gardening No-No. Because LOOK AT IT. Next, please plant some color, like pansies or violas, on top or in front of your tulip bulbs. Or at least put down some mulch if you're not going to plant any color.

I assume that most people invest in tulips because they want them to look like this:

Tulip lightningsun

Do this: Tulip 'Lightning Sun' in my garden today

If that's what you want, then you're going to need to plant about 5x the tulip bulbs than you think you need. Always plant more than you think you need. Cluster them in clumps or large swaths for a more natural look.

Also, for anyone who isn't having a good tulip year....meaning they are blasting (blooming way too short), then the bottom line is you're probably not planting them deep enough. I've never had a bad tulip year in Dallas, or a bad year in any of the years I programmed all the display tuilps for the Dallas Arboretum. There are three main tricks to having beautiful tulips here in Texas:

1. You must purchase pre-vernalized (chilled) bulbs. Tulips require a vernalization to develop a flower bud. Most years, our soil never gets cold enough for long enough to acheive this chilling naturally. (This year, we got pretty chilly...I have 3 leftover tulips in the ground from last year that actually managed to bloom).

2. Don't plant them too early, or too late. If you're in N. Texas, that means optimal planting time is in December. Usually after Thansksgiving, but before the end of December. My "golden window" is right around the week of Christmas. Plant in January and you risk blasting or overall poor bloom vigor.

3. You must plant them DEEP.  3-4" is not deep enough. I plant mine a good 8" deep, sometimes 10" deep. They always bloom perfectly and on time. This is probably where most people slip up with tulips in warm climates.

Tulips are Blooming!

Mar 17, 2014

The tulips are blooming! It's seemed like such a cold icky's nice to finally see blooms emerging in the garden.

Tulip passionale

Tulip 'Passionale' is putting on a nice show right now. This mid-season triumph tulip is a reliable performer in my garden. When I don't plant early blooming varieties, it's usually the first to show color for me. As you can see, I plant my tulips in large clumps, never in rows. You want to create a natural feel with bulbs so clump them in groups for best show and effect.

I have some orange parrot tulips coming along, as well as some late blooming types; 'Lightening Sun' and 'Mauraeen" will start blooming soon.

Spring Blooms in the Garden

Mar 18, 2013

Spring has definitely sprung around these parts! I thought I'd give you a sampling of some of the plants blooming around my garden. Enjoy!

Iris bestbet

Fava Bean flowers

Romanesco bud

Loropetalum everred

Tulip lighteningsun

Trailing Rosemary

Cilantro blooms

Iberis, Candytuft

Tulip 'Passionale'

Scabiosa in bloom

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