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Tag Archives: Heriloom Plants

Blooming Bulbs

Last fall, we decided to plant naturalizing bulbs and see how they fared.

In a word: gorgeous.

In December, we tucked in about 100 reliable, low-water beauties that are recommended varieties for Dallas. Now we are checking the north field compulsively to see what’s up and blooming.  We haven’t been disappointed.

Steve Huddleston, senior horticulturist at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, has found selections from the jonquil and tazetta families of smaller, multi-flower daffodils are the most dependable for years of color. Huddleston is slated to speak on “Perennials and Bulbs” for the Master Gardener School Class on March 28.


Daffodil Cragford‘Cragford,’ a pre-1930 Heirloom with white petals and reddish orange cups falls in the tazetta classification. The first to bloom in our garden, it grows to 14” -16.”





Daffodil Falconet‘Falconet’ is another dazzling tazetta with three to five flowers per stem. The petals are a bright gold with a rich orange cup.  Like ‘Cragford,’ it has a nice musky sweet perfume.  Other tazettas you might try are ‘Avalanche’ and ‘Geranium.’  We also planted ‘Hillstar,’ a jonquil variety which is not yet in bloom.




Daffodil Carlton‘Carlton’ has a larger bloom, but only one per stem, placing it in the Division II category. The two-toned yellow daffodil dates from 1927 and is the second most popular daffodil in the world, according to Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.  You might want to plant ‘Gigantic Star,’  ‘Ice Follies,’ or ‘Saint Keverne’ in the Division II category.






Daffodil Tete-a-TeteTiny Tete-a-Tete daffodils are showing their buttercup yellow petals and slightly darker yellow cup. This popular miniature daffodil usually has two flowers per stem and reaches 4-6 inches.





We also planted Dutch iris, grape hyacinths, and tulips.

Inspired? All our bulbs came from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, one of the country’s respected bulb retailers. The Raincatcher’s Garden receives a portion of your order at the company’s fundraising site Bloomin’ Buck$ (  If you’re looking for summer bulbs for your garden, Brent and Becky’s carries elephant ears, ground orchids, and more.


Pictures by Starla and courtesy of Brent and Becky’s Bulbs

Lakota Squash, An Heirloom Vegetable For Fall Gardens

Lakota Squash Planted In  Early August

Lakota squash is one of the winter storage types of squash. It’s a medium sized,  pear-shaped squash, weighing an average of about seven pounds. The outer shell is hard with interior flesh a golden yellow. The flavor is nutty and sweet. The Lakota squash derives its name from the Lakota Tribe of the Sioux Indians who prized this hardy winter squash for cooking and baking.   We like to think we are continuing their history by growing it at The Demonstration Garden. 

Store Lakota squash in a cool, dry place for up to three months or more after picking them. Since this is our first time to grow this heirloom vegetable, we may try one of these cooking ideas from Chef Kyle Shadix :

• Purée in food processor with light coconut milk, curry, and freshly minced and sautéed ginger and garlic.
• Add brown sugar, vanilla extract, and toasted walnuts.
• Add maple syrup and toasted almonds.
• Serve mashed with salt and pepper and a touch of real butter.
• Mix with prepared pesto and sprinkle with Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese.

Because Lakota Squash is an heirloom variety not a hybrid, the seeds will produce offspring like the parent. Next year we can share the seed and all get a little taste of Sioux history!


Poppy And Larkspur Seed Planting For Dallas Gardens

Before the seed there comes the thought of bloom. –E. B. White

 Poppy Blooming In Front Of Climbing Pinkie Rose In Our Rose Trellis Garden

Plant Poppies and larkspur seed now for early spring blooms!

They require cool weather to germinate.  If you want gorgeous color for a low price, take this simple step and throw down these seeds in your garden right away.

Sow poppy and larkspur seeds on top of a well-prepared bed but do not cover with dirt. Tamp down the soil with the back of a hoe or pat down with your hands. Do not mulch.  

With a little rain, they will begin to germinate and next spring you will be well on your way to an heirloom, cottage garden look. Time is of the essence.  Do it now, you will be thanking us next spring! 


The Oxblood Lily

On New York runways this fall, the trendy color is oxblood.  You will see leather jackets, wool pants, purses, and boots drenched in oxblood.   Last spring the color was tangerine tango, next year it might be beechnut  green.

Not to be out done by the fashion world, Texans have been enjoying Oxblood Lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) for over 150 years. Think back in Texas history to the 1840’s when German settlers immigrated to Central Texas for the early cultivation of this bulb.  Like these settlers, Oxblood Lilies are tough and tenacious and thrive all over the Central Texas area on old farms and abandoned homesteads.

Oxblood Lily Close Up

Unlike fashion dictates for 2012, the oxblood lily will endure for generations and mulitply.  Plant them in part shade or full sun. The red blooms are short lived but will last a little longer with afternoon shade.  They bloom in early September following rain and are also known as School House Lilies.  After the flower dies; thin, deep green leaves will continue until early summer.

For a small investment, your garden can enjoy the bright hues of the Oxblood Lily.  Plant them in the fall through December 1.  Next year what people are wearing will change but your garden will always be in style.

Oxblood Lilies At The Demonstration Garden With Dwarf Yaupon


Cypress Vine

Cypress Vine Flower

When it comes to flowers, I like to get up close and personal.

I love to stare into them and what could be more rewarding than looking into the five point star of the cypress vine flower?  The bright red bloom also attracts hummingbirds who love to dive into the little white throat of its flower for nectar.

The fern like foliage also draws me to cypress vine or Ipomoea quamoclit.  It is bright green and buoyantly drapes around arbors, poles, columns, pergolas, or anything else you give it to climb. We have grown it in our Demonstration Garden on a trellis in a semi- shaded area.

Cypress Vine Draped At Ann's House With Althea In Background

This annual vine was grown in Virginia gardens in the eighteenth century.  Thomas Jefferson sent seeds to Monticello and it grows in their historic re-creation of Jefferson’s garden today.

Save the seeds of cypress vine when the pods become papery and you can hear the seeds rattle or just let them drop to the ground for a return of this welcome vine.


PS: Leave a comment if you are interested in a gift of cypress vine seeds from Dallas Garden Buzz.  We can mail  for planting next spring as long as our supply of seeds lasts!

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