Twenty years ago the Smith County Master Gardeners were looking for a meaningful project and saw a need to educate the public about heirloom bulbs and how to use them in our landscapes. With a goal of “integrity with high quality bulbs,” sources were located, and bulbs purchased. Under the leadership of Ed and Jo Helen McGee, the first bulb sale was launched in the fall of 1999 in the Tyler Rose Garden. In the early years the customers met first for an educational talk in the Tyler Rose Garden Center and then went outside for the sale in the Rose Garden. Fast forward 20 years, and From Bulbs to Blooms has become an annual event in Smith County, now held in Harvey Convention Center in Tyler.

On Oct. 12, Greg Grant, our Smith County Texas A&M AgriLife horticultural Extension agent, will open the conference and sale with a presentation, “Earthkind Bulbs for Year Round Beauty,” at 9 a.m.

Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., and the sale will start at 11 a.m., after the lecture.

From Bulbs to Blooms will feature heirloom, hardy and hard-to-find bulbs that are suited for Texas and the South. For a continuous show we carry bulbs that bloom in all four seasons. We always have a good supply of early blooming treasures such as the Lent lily (Narcissus pseudonarcissus), the parent to all modern daffodils; Sweeties (Narcissus jonquilla), with its open clusters of two or three nickel sized blooms; and Narcissus x italicus, with its big clusters of pointy white petals. Soon to follow are daffodils including February Gold, the vigorous faithful Ice Follies, Campernelle jonquil (Narcissus x odorus) with its twisted petals, and Texas Star jonquil. As the bulb season moves along, you’ll want to have later blooming varieties like Grand Primo (Narcissus tazetta) with its large clusters of white flowers with soft yellow cups.

After the daffodil season, other bulbs continue to be a wonderful addition to your garden.

Once summer heat arrives, you can’t beat the old-fashioned Crinum lilies. Each year we feature two or three different named cultivars. As summer moves into fall you’ll want to shop our abundant supply of oxblood lilies, both pink and red, (Rhodophiala bifida) and the red Lycoris radiata or red spider lily.

Plan on joining us at the sale. Call the Smith County Extension Office for more information at 903-590-2980. Information can also be found on the Smith County Master Gardener website: ing-events, and the Smith County Master Gardener Facebook page. Also plan to visit the beautiful Tyler Rose Garden across the street, which includes four Master Gardener demonstration gardens that are all lovely in October.

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