Blog posts categorized as: Bulbs

Bulb blooms are early this year…

Feb 26, 2013

If you're planning to head to the Dallas Arboretum this year for Dallas Blooms, I'd suggest you move up your visit! Actually, you should probably make two visits if you really want to enjoy all the bulbs. With the warmer trending late-winter weather this year (and the past few), bulbs like Hyacinth and Tulips are blooming a week to two weeks earlier than planned. Typically, I consider the peak of Dallas Blooms ot be about the third week of March. But, temperature drives development and so when it's warm early, so go the blooms early!


Here is a shot of what are most likely 'Blue Jacket' Hyacinth and 'Monal' Narcissus (Daffodil). This photo was taken a WEEK ago! By this weekend, which is the opening of Dallas Blooms,  the Hyacinth and some of the early Daffodils will already be waning. Early blooming tulip varieties have already been in full glory for the last couple of weeks in my garden. So go now if you want to catch the early side of the bulb show, then head back in two weeks to catch the main tulip show.

It’s Tulip Time in Texas!

Feb 19, 2013

As with everything this year, tulip time is a bit early! My Darwin Hybrid tulips (early bloomers) are already in full bloom. Here is one of my favorites, 'Apricot Impression' blooming right now in my garden.


If you've been reading my blog for a number of years, you'll know that I'm kind of obsessed with this color. Sort of a sherbet peachy orange...ALL of my roses are this color and I'm always on the hunt for more plant varieties that will fit into my obsessively color coordinated palette.


'Apricot Impression' offers up big,sturdy early blooms, which is characteristic of the Darwin Hybrids. The outside of the flower petals are a creamy orange wiht a tinge of peachy pink.


When the flowers open, you're treated to a bright blaze of peachy orange...a lovely contrast to the purple hue of the stems.

Halleck_tulip_apricotimpression could this not brighten your day! This is why I go to all the effort to buy properly vernalized (pre-chilled) bulbs, then plant ON TIME (prime time is 3rd week of December here in Texas) and plant DEEP (6"-8"). Do this, and you'll be rewarded with gorgeous tulips, even in a mild winter like we've had. Enjoy!

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!

Force bulbs indoors now for the holidays!

Nov 18, 2012

Want to create some super stylish gifts or tabletop decor for the holidays? Why not force some bulbs indoors? Now is the perfect time. You can use traditional paperwhites, amaryllis, daffodils, muscari, tulips and hyacinth! Watch my Good Morning Texas segment from this week and I'll show you some creative options!


Winter Gardening Tip: Force Your Bulbs Now!

Nov 14, 2012

Want to create beautiful containers of blooming bulbs for the holidays? Now is the time to start forcing! Forced bulb containers make wonderful indoor decor for the holidays and are also a beautiful and thoughtful gift....perfect for teachers, hostesses and co-workers. In my recent segment of Good Morning Texas, I'll show you some modern twists on forcing blooming bulbs this season!


Want to tip toe through your own tulips?

Nov 6, 2012

I know, it is only why am I pushing tulips on you? Cuz if you don't get your hand on them soon, you aren't going to get your pick of the litter! If you live in the South, where soil temperatures stay relatively warm all winter, tulips must be planted anew each December. Yes, I know, those Northerners have it easy. Tulips perennialize there and require little effort or care. Down here, we have to vernalize (chill) our tulips for just the right amount of time at just the right temperature in order for them to develop a flower bud. You must wait to plant your tulips until soil temperatures have reached 50F and stay there. That's usually not till after Thanksgiving and it can often be later. The perfect time to plant tulips in Texas? The third week of December. 

I'm a bulb freak and I have extensive experience crafting big displays of them for mass consumption. So I decided to take a little work out of the decision making process for you and come up with some custom mixes that are both beautiful and reliable. If you live in the DFW area, you can pop over to North Haven Gardens and score yourself some, while they last!


 I put together these mixes so you'd have some well-tested and very reliable varieties that work well together either as a mix that blooms all at once, or a season extender which will mix early and late bloomers.


Personally, my favorite is 'Fuzzy Navel'...I mean, who doesn't love those?! I'm kind of obsessed with the color organe, so there ya go. Some folks are ready to plant up their beds and pots with tulips now, because they also want to get their pansies in the ground. Well, nature doesn't always work that way. In North Texas, and other areas with a similar climate, you really have to wait to plant your tulips. My solution? I go ahead and plant violas, or small flowered pansies, along the edges of my beds so that my borders look great for the cool season. I always plant some pockets of warm season annuals in my beds, such as Angelonia, Zinnas, Salvias and the like. Once we get hit with with the first frost, those plants come out and I use those spaces to plant clumps of tulips. Then, I overplant pansies in those spots. So I kind of have two pansy/viola planting times: Now and then again in December. If you want to drop bulbs in pots right now and top with cool season color, you can go ahead and do so with daffodils or other perennial bulbs. Just set aside a few pots to plant with tulips in December.  To read more about proper chilling and planting of tulips bulbs, go HERE.

Fancy Bulb Forcing

Oct 24, 2012

Think bulb forcing has to be boring? No way! I've been getting my hands dirty the last couple of days designing some bulb gardens, as I like to call them, for the upcoming holidays.


Yes, it's that time again and if you'd like some cheery daffodils or other bulbs blooming indoors for  your Thanksgiving table, now's the time to get going! Visit your local independent garden center for a good selection of bulbs that can be forced, such as daffodils, muscari, dwarf Dutch Iris, Amaryllis and more that can be forced now. You can continue forcing any of these bulbs now through the Holidays. Purty!

Chartreuse bulbs

Reblooming Iris ‘Smell the Roses’

Jul 8, 2012

Iris smelltherosesYou have to take a look at this miniature beauty I found this week over at North Haven Gardens in Dallas. I'll pretty much make a bee line for anything blue or purple in the nursery, and this lovely caught my eye from across the perennial section. I mean, who expects to see a bearded Iris blooming in Texas?? Not I said the fly...This tough yet stunning perennial is Iris 'Smell the Roses'. It's a miniature bearded Iris that re-blooms, so you get spring and fall blooms, or spring and sporadic blooming when weather is favorable. I can only assume that the lower than normal temps and extra rain fall made way for this specimen to go ahead and get it's bloom on.

Iris are one of the toughest drought tolerant perennials we can grow here in Texas, yet it still provides that showy delicate look one might expect from an English cottage garden. Best of both worlds! And yes, you can plant Iris in the middle of the summer here in Texas. Remember, any plants you see at your local garden center are ok to plant at the time they are stocked. And believe me, they will be much happier in the ground in summer than they are in a black nursery pot!

Now, I did you guys a favor and didn't snag this gem off the Iris table. So it might still be there for one of you lucky ducks. NHG had plenty of other unusual Iris varieties in stock so it's worth checking out.

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