From Bulbs to Holiday Blooms


Looking for an easy way to add color and fragrance to your holiday decorating? Look no further than planting Amaryllis or Paperwhites. These easy-to-plant bulbs will fill your home with the Christmas spirit.

Of all flowering bulbs, Amaryllis are the easiest to bring to bloom. The large, striking flowers and bold colors make this a must-have, holiday classic! Amaryllis bulbs are available in so many beautiful varieties including various shades of red, white, pink, salmon and even orange. There are also striped and multicolored varieties, usually combining shades of pink or red with white.

Another favorite holiday bulb is a member of the daffodil family, but looks much more delicate than the big yellow trumpet daffodils you see in spring. These are the most fragrant of the daffodil family, with a distinctive sweet smell that will permeate your home throughout the season.

To get started, you’ll need:

  • 3 to 4 Bulbs (either Paperwhites or Amaryllis)
  • Nutritious potting compost or stones/pebbles
  • Decorative Container

Planting Instructions:

  • Amaryllis:Plant bulbs in potting compost. Plant the bulb up to its neck in the potting compost, being careful not to damage the roots. Press the soil down firmly to set the bulb securely in place after planting.
  • Paperwhite: You do not need any soil; just set them in a shallow dish with some pebbles, or even some nicely-colored marbles. Let the bulbs stand, flat side down, in the pebbles, so the pebbles cover about half the bulb.

Place your potted bulbs in a warm place with direct light since heat is necessary for the development of the stems. The ideal temperature is 68 to 70 degrees F. Water sparingly until the stem appears, then, as the bud and leaves appear, gradually water more. At this point, the stem will grow rapidly and flowers will develop after it has reached full growth. Bulbs will flower in 7-10 weeks as a general rule.

If you're left wondering when to plant these bulbs in order to have them holiday-ready, we've got you covered. Use these handy bloom calendars as a guide:

Amaryllis Bloom Calendar >>
Paperwhite Bloom Calendar >>



Plant of the Week:


Think there’s no such thing as a perfect lady, well think again. Perfect Lady daffodil offers crisp white petals with a contrasting coral-pink cup making this gal a must-have in every garden! This hardy, mid-spring bloomer offers sun-proof color with no fade blooms that last two weeks or more. Perfect Lady does well in any shady or sunny spot and its uses in the landscape are endless. Fall is the time to plant these bulbs in beds, rock gardens, naturalized in the landscape or even in containers. Come spring, this pretty little lady is guaranteed to add a splash of spring color to your garden!

Bulb Planting Tips:

  1. Soil - Bulbs are one of the most forgiving plants avaialble and daffodils will grow almost anywhere.
  2. Light - Morning sun or partial shade is ideal but again bulbs are forgiving and daffodils will grow almost anywhere.
  3. Depth - The rule of thumb is to plant bulbs about 3 times as deep as it is wide, so for daffodils we recommend about 8 inches deep.
  4. Water - Thoroughly water your bulbs after initial planting. Bulbs are pretty self-sufficient from then on as they store thier own water.
  5. Planting - The pointed end of the bulb should always face up. Often, the old roots are visible on the bottom end of the bulbs and these always go down. Some bubls are hard to distinguish the top from the bottom and you can always plant them sideways. Daffodil bulbs are pretty easy to decipher.
  6. Mulch - A 2 to 3-inch layer of mulch will help hold moisture in the soil enhancing the performance of your bulbs. It will also help the soil to maintain a consistant temperature through winter.
  7. When to Plant - Plant these bulbs in September, October and November. They should be in the ground by Thanksgiving. Blooms will appear mid-spring.


Bring on the Bulbs


Bring on the bulbs! Spring color starts now - yep in the fall. With just a little planning, you can time your bulb blooms for continuous color from late winter to late spring. We recommend planting bulbs before frost sets in, which is typically around October 14 or 15… so now is the perfect time.

Be sure to follow the specific planting instructions included with each variety and pay particular attention to planting depths. Select these spring bloomers for constant color in your garden February through May:

Crocuses (bloom February to March)
These hardy perennials can be planted anywhere you want early spring color. As with most hardy bulbs, they bloom in full sun, but prefer a bit of shade of longer lasting blooms.

Tulips (bloom late March to early May)
Tulips are one of the most popular spring flowering bulbs. For maximum impact, plant tulips in groups of at least 10 or more. They make excellent cut flowers and usually last about a week in a vase. Plant tulips in full sun with a minimum of eight hours and well-drained soil.

Daffodils (bloom late March to late April)
Daffodils (also called Narcissus or Jonquils) are easy to grow, extremely hardy, come back every year, and are rodent and deer resistant. They look beautiful planted in woodland settings, formal bed or mixed with our bulbs and perennials. Daffodils grow best with a minimum of six hours of direct sun and well-drained soil.

Hyacinth (bloom late March to April)
A member of the Lily family, Hyacinths are both beautiful and fragrant and are available in a variety of colors. Perfect in rock gardens, containers, mass plantings, bed, and borders. Hyacinths will grow well in shade to full sun, but do best in bright sunlight in a well-drained area.



Giant White Squill

Strange name and cool flowers, Squill is a unique plant that offers high drama. The Squill flowers are loved by floral artists and show up in fashion photo shoots, home magazines and in floral combinations at high end venues. We’ve spotted this flower in Architectural Digest, Garden Design and even in some Hollywood gatherings. Prized for its unique, chic look you can try your hand growing this bulb this fall.

The flowers of this interesting plant are tall, upright stems that grow to be about 4-5 feet. The flower spikes are made up of tons of starry white flowers all over the flower stalk. Interestingly, the flowers will live longer if cut and placed in water as opposed to staying on the plant. Once cut, the Squill flowers will continue to grow and have been seen growing up to six more inches.

The foliage is also beautiful on this plant. With wide attractive leaves from November through May, you will enjoy the Emerald green color until the huge flower stalk appears in August.

This bulb is quite large, about the size of a soccer ball and it prefers full sun. To plant the bulb, make sure the top of the bulb is even with the soil surface. It is also important to have good drainage for this bulb. Sandy soil is a great option and we suggest avoiding heavy clay as the bulb will rot if it stays wet. Due to the size of this plant, the root system can be quite large, so make sure you are giving this plant plenty of room.

This beauty is surely one that will sure to make your “squill.”



Dig. Drop. Done.

Flowering bulbs bursting with color are a sight unlike any other. And who knew they could be so incredibly easy – just dig, drop and you're done! Bulbs are a surprisingly simple way to beautify your life.

What's a Bulb?
A flower bulb is really a self-contained flower factory. Within this marvelous little package is nearly everything the flower needs to come to life! Split a tulip open, for instance, and you'll see its baby flower bud, leaves, roots, stem and food supply. All bulbs need from you is to be placed in the ground at the appropriate season of the year, given a liberal drink of water then left to work their magic. Simply "dig, drop, done" in one season then "delight" in the next.

Flower bulbs come in a seemingly limitless variety which makes them perfectly suitable for any garden design you can dream up. Planting just a few can easily provide beautiful color in your garden for several months. Daffodils are the first sign of spring and dahlias will bloom until frost hits the pumpkins. The three most important factors to keep in mind are color, of course, but also plant height and flowering period.

When to Plant
In general, there are two seasons for bulb planting:
Fall ~ After soil temperatures are below 50ºF/10ºC. These bulbs bloom the following spring and require the cold winter temperatures for development. But let's say winter arrives and your bulbs are still in their bag. Not to worry! Bulbs are pre-programmed to grow so even if you have to plant through snow, plant your bulbs!

Spring ~ After the danger of frost has passed (tender bulbs love soil that is at least 60ºF/15ºC). These bulbs bloom in summer/fall.

How to Plant: It really is as easy as "dig, drop, done."
Most bulbs thrive in either full or partial sun and in almost any location with good drainage. Avoid planting at the base of hills or under drainpipes where water collects and will rot the bulbs.

  1. Good soil preparation is the very first step. Make sure it is loose and porous to make the planting easier (and because good drainage is necessary for all types of bulbs). Adding peat moss to the soil is a good trick to improve drainage.
  2. The planting depth of bulbs depends on their size: a good rule of thumb is that the depth should be 3x the diameter of the bulb. However, planting depths vary by variety. For more specific planting depths, check the label on your bulb package.
  3. The spacing of the bulbs depends largely on the effect you are trying to achieve. For best results plant in clumps of large groups rather than in single rows.
  4. After loosening the soil gently press the bulbs (with pointed ends up) in the bed, cover them with the removed soil and tap it down slightly.
  5. Water thoroughly.


Dig Deep for Spring Color!

It's just beginning to feel like fall, and winter is around the corner... so why are we talking about spring?! Well, fall is in fact the ideal time to plant spring-flowering bulbs ~ like tulips, daffodils, crocuses & hyacinth.

A flower bulb is really an underground storehouse and flower factory. Within the bulb is just about everything the plant will need to sprout and flower at the appropriate time. All bulbs need is to be planted in the ground at the appropriate season of the year, given liberal water, and then sit back and let Mother Nature do the rest!

Nothing is more satisfying than planting dormant brown bulbs in autumn and watching them emerge in late winter or early spring with their fresh green shoots and colorful flowers. In order to take advantage of many spring favorites, their bulbs should be planted in the fall after the first frost (typically around October 15th in Hampton Roads). Bulbs require a long period of cool temperatures in order to bloom. It's vital to get bulbs planted before the ground freezes, so they can develop a strong root system.

So now's the time to start planning and purchasing bulbs, so you will be ready pop them in the ground as cooler weather sets in. You'll be in store for quite a rewarding show come spring!

Visit our friends at Dig.Drop.Done. for more information. http://www.digdropdone.com,
and as always, visit any of our knowledgeable gardeners at McDonald Garden Center.



Bedazzling Bulbs ~ New for 2012

Bulbs are an easy way to add color, texture and bloom variety to your garden. They are easy to grow, quick to deliver, are relatively inexpensive and their versatility is unbeatable! They can be grown in most any garden situation, in pots, borders, rock gardens, grass and even indoors. Now’s the time to start planning for those spring flowering bulbs, but there's no need to confine your planting efforts to the garden. Don’t overlook those indoor bloomers like Amaryllis and Paperwhites for dramatic blooms to brighten your home this fall and winter. With over 100 varieties of bulbs, we are excited to add these new beauties to our bulb collection:

Hyacinth Double Hollyhock - exquisite, double crimson red flowers. This extremely fragrant spring bloomer is ideal in containers or borders, and is perfect for indoor-forcing. Flowers in mid spring. Prefers well-drained soil and full sun. Deer, squirrel and rabbit resistant. When planting, wear gloves to prevent skin irritation.

Narcissus Sweet Pomponette - large, long-lasting double Daffodil featuring varying shades of yellow. This delightfully fragrant Daffodil blooms mid spring and is the perfect companion alongside other Daffodils, or as a cut flower in bouquets. Plant in a sunny, well-drained location. Deer resistant.

Tulip Limelight - superb, chartreuse-yellow blooms that flowers in mid to late spring. Growth is vigorous in average garden soil and prefers full sun to partial shade. Perfect in borders, containers or as a cut flower in mixed bouquets.

Narcissus Sun Disc - dwarf Daffodil producing buttercup yellow flowers. Blooms mid to late spring. Ideal for naturalizing along a wooded area, in pots and in beds. Plant in well drained soil in shade to full sun. Vole and deer resistant.

Narcissus Erlicheer (Paperwhite) - double, creamy-white blossoms that are intensely fragrant. Blooms early to mid spring or can be forced indoors during the fall and winter months. Plant in full sun to partial shade.

Amaryllis La Paz - upper petals are dark coral while the lower petals are greenish-white rimmed with dark coral. The slender, spidery flowers bloom early spring or plant them indoors in the fall or winter. Prefers full sun.

Amaryllis Red Pearl - massive, saucer-shaped flowers in deep crimson red with darker throats. Plant indoors in the winter or outdoors in summer. Plant in full sun.