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Posts from the ‘bulbs’ category

Byzantine gladiolus, or Corn Flag

I’ve not had much luck with gladiolus here. I’m wondering if I plant them too late. Most Texas gardening advice suggests planting gladiolus corms in succession during April and May, but I almost think they’d do better planted even earlier. Glads are not tender here, and don’t need to be “dug and stored’ as they do in other parts of the U.S. Unfortunately, most bulb sellers don’t start shipping their gladiolus bulbs till April, which doesn’t give me a chance to try planting them earlier. Last year I planted six different kinds of gladiolus corms in April, and most of them just became a big bunch of floppy, ragged leaves with no flowers.

The Byzantine gladiolus, however, is another kind of glad. Read more

mysterious heirloom tazetta

February 2009. Well, this winter has brought me two new tazettas, surely as old as our house, but blocked from light for years. I don’t know if they got rain at the right time or what, but this year I discovered I have both “Double Roman” tazettas and this mysterious bulb. For hte last five years it has just shot up leaves, so I assumed it was ‘Grand Primo’, which I have so much of around my property, but it finally decided to bloom this year and here it is, with its lovely pale yellow petals and bright orange cups.

Double Roman tazetta

January 2009. I just discovered a lone flower stalk of this bulb blooming in a shady part of our garden along the driveway, at the foot of a pecan tree. This year, I’ve discovered two new naturalized bulbs along the driveway, which is the most neglected part of our garden, and was home to a huge 1930s-ish planting of Oxblood Lilys, Grand Primo tazettas, irises and crinums. I moved the crinums and irises to sunnier part of the garden, but I am still surprised by what blooms here. In five years I never saw this flower, but I guess conditions were ripe. Read more

Heirloom Bearded Iris

I hesitate to call this iris heirloom, or suggest its name, but that is the closest I have come so far to figuring out who might be this beautiful iris.

When we first bought our house, the front and backyard surprised us in each season with all kinds of bulbs–old jonquils, rain lilies, oxblood lilies, oxalis and a lone Dutch iris oddly placed in the very abandoned part of the back yard. Read more

‘Billy Graham’ Daffodil

Most of my daffodil purchases are (hopefully) invested in bulbs that will return year after year, but with a few exceptions. The big-flowered, big-cupped kind don’t usually come back year after year in Texas (either they need a longer winter to initiate their bloom, or they bloom too late at a point which it is too hot for them). Pouring over one of my cool bulb catalogs, I couldn’t help myself from at least ordering a few of these to try with the others. Read more

‘Mrs. R.O. Backhouse’ Daffodil

Mrs. R.O. Backhouse is a beautiful heirloom daffodil, introduced in 1921 to great astonishment as the first pink daffodil. (Which is funny sounding as I write it, I just love that the horticultural world is “astonished” by new flower developments. As if the flowers are divas.). There are all kinds of pink daffodils now, but from what I have read it is still difficult to count on them being a true pink but this would be as close as they come–a soft peachy pink. And like many daffodil blooms, it fades with age, and this fades to a lovely blush.

I’m pretty sure this would never survive past a year or two in my garden, as most large daffodils of this class need a longer winter than we have, but it was worth the brief show in my ‘wheelbarrow’ bed.


Paperwhites are native to many parts of the Mediterranean. and are a type of narcissus closely related to the Tazettas, many of which are great for the South (Grand Primo, Chinese Sacred Lily, Erlicheer, and Avalanche are some that I grow). Like Tazettas, paperwhites bloom in little clusters of small white flowers, sometimes with yellowish cups but most of the time are all white. Most people grow Paperwhites indoors (you see a lot of them in stores around the holidays along with amaryllis) on rocks or in potting soil, let them bloom and throw them away. Read more

Chinese Sacred Lily

Unfortunately, I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing this narcissus bloom yet, but I’m not giving up on it. (Note: more recent update below.) I read in a local garden blog that perhaps they need more cold than our winters provide. And yet a seemingly conflicting fact about them is that their native habitat is coastal and they are being sold as better narcissus for warmer, more coastal winters. Go figure. (I keep going back to what one local nursery owner said to me, “It’s all a crapshoot, anyway.”) Read more

‘Avalanche’ Tazetta

These are the cutest little flowers, not unlike ‘Grand Primo’, whose flowers spray out in more of a snowball shape, it can carry from 5 to 20 flowers from the top of each stem. Avalanche was once called “Seventeen Sisters” because of its frequent grouping of 17 flowers, but none of mine had even 10. Perhaps a few more years in the garden and I will see more. Avalanche’s blossoms are just a little bit smaller than Grand Primo, but the cups are distinctly, well, cups, and are also a clear yellow, which makes them look more like miniature daffodils and less like a paperwhite. For such a small flower, even from a distance, it looks so perfectly ‘buttercup’ (as I knew the as a child). Read more

Campernelle Jonquil

This sweet little starry-eyed beauty disappeared nearly as soon as it appeared. Out of about 10 bulbs, this was the only bloom (as I write in February 2008). Campernelles are sweetly fragranced with dainty blossoms and wiry (often called rush-like) leaves. This is an easy way to tell many jonquils apart from modern daffodils or tazettas. Read more