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texas in springtime.

A few weeks ago in my travels I visited my co-author on HEIRLOOM BULBS and his wife at their cabin in East Texas. When I commented on a healthy looking amaryllis in a pot on their deck, Rebecca and Chris insisted I hop over to their Southern Bulb Company farm and take a few bulbs for myself. What a joy to come out this morning to yet another bloom on this gorgeous plant! I cannot believe less than a month ago what I planted has now emerged as these gigantic blooms. It was merely a handful of energy, waiting for a little sunshine and rain to explode. On my gardening blog next week, I’ll tell you the simple ingredients needed to make this miracle of life occur and ANYONE can do it!
I want to thank my Aunt Sammie for accompanying me on a wonderful trip last weekend to the Texas Hill Country to speak about how to use roses in the landscape at the state’s annual Herbal Forum. Besides the fantastic sights, smells and loads of information, what a great bunch of folks! Great talks, too. Ethne Clark, editor at Organic Gardening Magazine (see photo below) showed us the gardens from her last few moves (England to Austin to Iowa, oh, my!).  Mike Shoup, Rose Rustler and owner Antique Rose Emporium, showed us some of his favorite gals and Henry Flowers, the garden director at Festival Hill, gave us a mini-tour of history through a ROSEY lens. We spent the night at beautiful Festival Hill in Round Top, falling in love (again) with the gardens and historic buildings there. Here are a few photos, including the Washington County bluebonnets beginning to peak out from among the grasses and other wildflowers. If you’ve not gotten a chance to visit, I highly recommend a trip. If it is vacation from traffic you are desiring, you might make sure the annual antiques sale is not going on at Round Top when you make your plans. I’m telling you, people are SERIOUS about their bargains, aren’t they?

outside my window.

On my trip through the backroads of East Texas this last weekend, the daffodils were on their way out but irises were coming into their own.  I love heirlooms like the cemetery white iris and saw them gathered around oak trees, scattered across forgotten lawns and even escaping into the wild. Their ethereal blooms never fail to amaze me. My own cemetery whites haven’t started blooming yet, but my Louisiana irises have.  They are at home in a low spot in my front yard, growing lavish and thick where most other plants might drown.
Sunday afternoon I got the chance to spend time with The Bulb Hunter – my co-author on HEIRLOOM BULBS, Chris Wiesinger – and his wife, Rebecca, AKA “Lil Bulb.”  They invited me to the Little Red Cabin for a spot of tea and a sing-along, Rebecca at the piano and Chris, my aunt and I harmonizing on familiar old hymns.  Isn’t it amazing how a song or a scent or a bloom bring up a memory long forgotten? What memories do these things cause to bubble up in you?
Monday my aunt and I stopped in on Blue Moon Gardens near Edom, Texas. LOVE that place. I’m afraid I chided them about not having any of my books in stock. Hopefully that will be remedied soon, but couldn’t stay mad among all that beauty. Also couldn’t pass up buying a few things, although finding a home for them is going to be a tall order!
Next week I’ll head west to speak at the annual Herbal Forum at Round Top at the incredible Festival Hill.  I’m looking forward to what’s been projected as a record year for wildflowers in the Texas Hill Country, the perfect place to see bluebonnets and friends, which means YOU get to see them, too!
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