Winter Bulbs for Yearly Happy Returns!

Just when you think you’ve got “things” figured out (whatever they are), some “thing” tests your composure or topples your good day tower. No matter what, though, my winter bulbs don’t disappoint. When January rains threatened my pass-a-long paperwhite narcissus, I cut a few to adorn my still-working-from-home kitchen table office. Plenty more showed up to last for weeks.
Narcissus Paperwhite cut flowers working from home Central Texas Gardener
Now, after days of balmy complacency when perennials and fruit trees leafed and budded, we head into the coldest temperatures in years. Yikes, 7 degrees possible! So, I cut a few recently opened Narcissus ‘Grand Primo’ and ‘Erlicheer’ for the February office. This weekend, I’ll cut more for our homegrown Valentine’s bouquet!
Narcissus Grand Primo and Erlicheer cut flowers Central Texas Gardener
But it was diminutive Algerian iris, another pass-a-long tucked under a yaupon holly, that took late January into mid-February.
Algerian iris sunny little January bloom Central Texas Gardener
Algerian iris intricate small winter bloomer Central Texas Gardener
Algerian iris intricate petal falls Central Texas Gardener
Algerian iris bloom January Central Texas Gardener
This Mediterranean native doesn’t mind some shade, supposedly even under live oak trees, where it spreads via rhizomes.
Small Algerian iris January bloom among Texas sedges Central Texas Gardener
Most winter bloomers want sun at least part of the day once foliage emerges. It’s okay to plant under deciduous trees that drop their leaves in fall, since the bulbs are tucked underground during shaded summer months.
Narcissus Falconet January bloomer Central Texas Gardener
The weather and your garden’s microclimate impact bloom time. One clump of Narcissus tazetta ‘Falconet’ bloomed early for me on January 26 in a warm spot near the house.
Narcissus Falconet spring flower Central Texas Gardener
Nature must have seeded it from long-term residents in an island bed several feet away. Although they’re up, they don’t bloom until late February and even into March.
Narcissus 'Falconet' with oxalis Central Texas Gardener
Here’s a shot from March 13, 2015. A few weeks later, dormant (and cut back) perennials filled that space again. Before then, those deep green strappy leaves claimed attention while warm weather perennials took a break.
Narcissus 'Falconet' winter bloomer with dormant perennials Central Texas Gardener
The tazetta species performs well for us, returning year after year.
Narcissus 'Grand Primo' sweetly fragrant Central Texas Gardener
I hear from gardeners whose bulbs don’t bloom. It could be that they are “one and done” varieties not best for Central Texas. In subsequent years, they may produce foliage before disappearing altogether.

Like all tazettas, Narcissus ‘Grand Primo’ clusters multiple small-cupped, sweetly fragrant flowers on thin, firm stems, perfect for cutting to bring indoors!
Narcissus 'Grand Primo' clump winter bulbs Central Texas Gardener
These bulbs are deer and rabbit resistant. They like our dry summers. And again, they make foliar placeholders when warm weather perennials are dormant.
Narcissus 'Grand Primo' winter bulb clumps good for Central Texas
Narcissus 'Grand Primo' small yellow cups white petals Central Texas Gardener
You can divide them when the foliage browns to create swoon-worthy swaths or to pass along to friends and future generations.
Narcissus Grand Primo with lomandra Central Texas Gardener
They’re perfect to tuck into waterwise gardens. Narcissus tazetta ‘Erlicheer’ “plant-bombs” Yucca gloriosa ‘Variegata’.
Narcissus 'Erlicheer' and Yucca gloriosa variegata Central Texas Gardener
They don’t need fertilizer or chilling in a jam-packed refrigerator.
Narcissus 'Erlicheer' fragrant naturalizing bulb Central Texas Gardener
Bloom times also depend on variety, so USUALLY I’ve got more surprises coming up.
Narcissus 'Erlicheer' clump return winter bulbs Central Texas Gardener
Since this winter’s about to throw us an extended hard freeze whopper, I’m glad I got to enjoy fluffy little ‘Abba’ this week.
Narcissus 'Abba' Central Texas Gardener
And a moonlit walk around the garden. . .
Narcissus Grand Primo flowers by moonlight Central Texas Gardener
Anyway, we’ll see what happens. ‘Erlicheer’ rallied after 2010’s snowfall with a return performance every year.
Narcissus Erlicheer in snow
Learn more about bulbs for all seasons!

Garden Bulbs for the South: Scott Ogden
Garden Bulbs for the South by Scott Ogden
Heirloom Gardening in the South: Bill Welch (Dr. William) and Greg Grant
Heirloom Gardening in the South by William C. Welch and Greg Grant Central Texas Gardener
Heirloom Bulbs for Today: Chris Weisinger (once Bill Welch’s student)
Heirloom Bulbs For Today Chris Wiesinger
Straight out of A&M, Chris started The Southern Bulb Company where you can order tried-and-true heirloom bulbs online.

See you on the other side of the freeze! Thanks for stopping by, Linda