Breeding a Better Tulip

Posted by Kath LaLiberte on Aug 25, 2014 7:30:00 AM

Gardeners have been planting tulips since the 1500s. Those early tulips were essentially wildflowers, imported from Turkey. Though beautiful, their blossoms were no bigger than your thumb. Thanks to plant breeders in Holland and elsewhere, today’s tulips have larger flowers, taller, stronger stems, and are available in hundreds of different colors.

To produce a bigger and better tulip, plant breeders hybridize two genetically different plants. The new generation of plants displays characteristics from each parent, and over time, the breeder selects offspring that display the most desirable traits.

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Spring Blooming Flowers, Tulips

Grow This: An Exotic Fall-Blooming Bulb

Posted by Marlene Thompson on Aug 18, 2014 12:45:55 PM

We recently received a shipment of some very special bulbs and you can be among the first gardeners in the world to grow them.

Scilla maderensis is a rare species of hyacinth that’s native to the island of Madeira, off the coast of Portugal. The bulbs (which are dark purple!) resemble an amaryllis bulb and are grown in much the same way. The bulbs are tender and only hardy to zones 9-10, so they should be considered indoor bulbs or be grown in a cool greenhouse. Plant the bulb in a pot in early fall, when daytime temperatures cool down to 50-60°F. About a month after planting, the bulb will send up a 15” flower spike that looks like a lavender-blue magic wand. The shimmering little flowers open slowly from the bottom up, so the show goes on for several weeks. After flowering, treat the bulb as you would an amaryllis and it will re-bloom again each fall.
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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Indoor Bulbs

Color Trends - Black and White In Your Garden

Posted by Marlene Thompson on Aug 7, 2014 3:29:54 PM

Fashion designers from Paris to New York, home designers in every magazine and bloggers across the web have all been raving about the black and white trend. If you love color trends, you are going to love this! If you prefer a classic look, you are going to love this too! It’s black and white and it’s gracing gardens just as beautifully as it did the runways.

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Topics: Color Trends

Allium - Fireworks in the Garden and In Your Home

Posted by Marlene Thompson on Jul 3, 2014 1:54:06 PM

This spring I was able to enjoy a stunning display of alliums in my garden. These late spring bloomers were the grand finale in a spectacular spring flower show.

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Topics: home decor, alliums, fireworks

Trending Thursday - Muscari Inspiration

Posted by Marlene Thompson on Jun 19, 2014 5:49:58 PM

Muscari is your garden's best accessory. Stunning on it's own, it also coordinates with almost every fall-planted, spring blooming bulb in your garden! A picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a few pictures to inspire you to plant muscari this fall!

River of muscari at Keukenhof in Holland.

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Tulips, muscari

The Tulip House - Bulb Garden Inspiration

Posted by Marlene Thompson on May 16, 2014 5:08:46 PM

After a long and cold winter, spring arrived and my fall-planted bulbs started to bloom...and bloom...and bloom. WOW! Did they ever bloom! My front and back yard are flowering in full force and I have had many people call, text and email with questions about how I did it! I am blessed with visitors who walk by and enjoy the blooms as much as I do.

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Home Grown Strawberries and a Recipe

Posted by Marlene Thompson on May 9, 2014 3:48:06 PM

I love summer produce, the farmer’s market, tomatoes warmed by the sun and growing my own fruits and vegetables! I am always looking for new recipes based on what’s growing in my raised beds and patio. Last year I successfully grew strawberries and I was on the hunt for a fantastic recipe for my delicious bounty.

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From The Child of a Gardener

Posted by Marlene Thompson on May 7, 2014 11:43:00 AM

I love seeing my children's school work come home when they are first learning to spell and express themselves on paper. This week was no different! My 2nd grade daughter's class has been learning about the plant life cycle. She brought home the paper below and it appears as if her teacher circled it because it wasn't the answer she was looking for....but it was the perfect answer that only the child of a gardener would say!

She's always the first one to tell me if one of our plants is wilting and my response to her is always "It just needs a little love." Then off she goes to give it some water and a little soft talking to. I'm glad she sees the beauty of what a little love can do to help things grow.

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A Week At Keukenhof

Posted by Marlene Thompson on May 6, 2014 10:37:18 AM

Every year we visit the The Netherlands and spend a significant time at Keukenhof in Lisse. If you have not been to the world’s largest garden, you must put this showcase of Dutch flower blooms on your bucket list. The superb display of bulbs, flowers and plants is inspiring and one of many steps we take when choosing our fall bulb collections each year.

We are so fortunate to be surrounded by such beautiful flowers and have it be part of a day at work! Here are a few photographs of our trip to Keukenhof in April. We hope you enjoy these flowers as much as we do!

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Topics: Fall Planted Bulbs, Tulips, daffodils, narcissus, muscari, Keukenhof

Supporting Peony Plants with Cages

Posted by Marlene Thompson on May 1, 2014 4:45:00 PM

I love growing peony plants and and enjoying them in my garden and as a cut flower. Peonies take patience as few flower the first year, but they are worth the wait because they will flower and thrive for 20 years or more. They bloom early in the season, (late spring or early summer depending on your location), and they boast big, beautiful blooms. However, their tall stems can tend to flop over due the size and weight of the flowers. The easiest way to solve this problem is by using a peony cage.

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