Bulb Blooms

Talk to any gardener or anyone who tries to garden, like me, and you’ll find someone who can’t wait to talk about a successful plant in their yard.  Be warned.  This post is about just such a flower.

bulb flowersbSeveral years ago, I planted four Amaryllis bulbs.  These were gifts received during the Christmas season.  When I heard that a friend in the metroplex had had success with growing them, I had to give it a try.bulb flowers6 Selecting a spot where they might succeed was the most difficult part.  I chose a bed next to the house where it would be somewhat protected from the wind and the late afternoon sun.

Only two of the four bulbs have ever bloomed, although the leaves of the other two come up every year.  Poor things have not been fed regularly.

bulb flowers5The bulbs are not watered most of the year.  They only need watering just before they bloom and until after the leaves have all dried up.  The trick is remembering to give them a drink at the right time.

bulb flowers4They last longer as cut flowers because of the heat and wind here.

bulb flowers7Plus, they can be enjoyed up close.

bulb flowerscAmaryllis should have four flowers on each stem, but mine only produce two flowers.  The rocky, clay soil and harsh environment may account for that.  That flower bed was dug up and most of the rocks removed.  Then good soil was mixed in with the original soil, but clay and rocks seem to work their way up into the top soil.

The one rule for bulbs that I do obey is to not cut the leaves off until they have all died.  Those green leaves provide the nutrients for the bulb.

bulb flowers9In a field next to the driveway about 50 Bearded Iris bulbs were planted eight years ago.  These bulbs had been given to me by friends and family.  A few I bought at an Iris farm in Argyle, north of Fort Worth.

The first three years they bloomed profusely with large flowers.  But, I also fed them twice a year, as recommended.  On Halloween and Valentine’s Day or close to those times is the proper fertilizing dates.  As time passed, I became lax in their care because I had to drag three connected hoses about 75 feet to reach them.

bulb flowersaSo, sadly, this year the flowers have been sparse and small.  Rainfall has only been one half an inch this year, so there has been little water.  I keep meaning to dig some up and bring them into the yard.  But then, they would get too much water.

The good thing is that old fashioned iris bulbs will still be viable for years to come.  So next year, if I water and fertilize, they should flourish again.

It’s easy to become overwhelmed with the work needed to keep plants maintained.  I would love to find someone willing to work, so I’ll keep looking.

“The greatest glory never comes from winning, but from rising each time you fall.  A person is defined by what he chooses to do with his life, not by what happens to him.”  Clay Aiken

Little Surprises

The temperatures are still teetering back and forth between freezing and the nice warm 70’s.  Winter one day and summer the next.  So any little sign of spring boosts one’s spirit.

verbenaRemember the line from a song in Guys and Dolls:  “Good Ole Reliable Nathan”?   That’s exactly what I think of when I see these flowers growing in the yard, fields, or caliche roads.

In my opinion, the Prairie Verbena (Verbena bipinnatifida) or Sweet William is our best wildflower.  They last from spring through fall and aren’t particular about soil or rainfall.  In the years when there is ample rain, they just spread out making a carpet of light purple.  In years like this one with paltry rain, they are pale colored and standing alone.

irisThe first Bearded Iris has bloomed.  My white ones have always bloomed first.  These are the kind that grow in neglected conditions and are found by old dilapidated buildings.  They don’t mind the heat or drought.  In dry years, the flowers are on short little stems or they don’t bloom at all.  In wetter years, their stems are tall and strong with huge, full flowers.  My favorites are the deep purple ones.

My bulbs were given to me by a friend.  These are in a field about six yards on  the other side of the driveway, so they don’t get watered.  Some years, I remember to hook up hoses together to reach them and fertilize them.

bushroseThe Earth-Kind rose bushes are looking good. The foliage is full with a promise of beautiful roses soon.

Earth-Kind Roses were developed by Texas AgriLife Extension Service at Texas A & M.  They perform well in many types of soil, are heat and drought tolerant, and require less water.

grapehyacithEarlier this week as I was driving down a county road, and out of the side of my eye, I spied some color.  So I backed up to investigate.  Scattered along about 50 feet, these small purple flowers raised their heads among the weeds in the bar ditch.  Yep.  They’re Grape Hyacinth (Muscari botryoides).  Lovely treat.

After we have good health and the necessities, It’s the little things in life that make each day special.  For some of us, a new flower bud opening up brings a smile inside and out.

“Live your life so that when people speak evil of you no one will believe it.”  Unknown