Sunday, November 27, 2011

November flowers

Acidanthera in November?  Just Gorgeous! And Snowdrops at the same time? Oh, and that heavenly scented winter honeysuckle -Lonicera fragrantissima -just a few twigs fills the room with a delicious scent.  It makes a beautiful vase with some of the paperwhites that are also blooming outside right now too.  And the beautiful white fall Camellia in my white garden.  What a wonderful mix of  white flowers.
Don't forget winter trees too -the bark of the river birch too is just stunning against a blue sky.        Well the 12 month garden is now reality after 4 years of work!! Enjoyable work I hasten to add.
Happy Gardening to all. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011


And here are the gladioli -it is amazing how well the bulbs keep.  i try to plant every 3  weeks through the summer so I have a succession of blooms for cutting.  they are especially welcome at this time of year.
The cannas have done really well this year too, especially the ones from tissue culture.
Now we have grape hyacinth leaves (Muscari armeniacum) leaves coming through.  They make great groundcover through the winter.  Also loads of paperwhites are showing -Narcissus Ziva and also the Super paperwhites, have leaves about 6-8 inches tall already.
what an amazing day -77 degrees with wall to wall sunshine -gorgeous to be out there tidying up and cutting flowers.  We still need more rain though; I also had to water some of the beds -unbelieveable for late October.


Hereare the pictures of the dahlias.  Isn't that just glorious at the end of October?

fall is arriving

Cut the grass and picked a late bunch of dahlias and Gladioli -I plant at intervals so i still have some flowers to cut at this time of the year.  They are just beautiful

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rain at last

Rain -at last!  Wonderful, life giving, refreshing rain at long last.  We finally had a reasonable rain -enough to actually do some good.  Everything seems to have turned green over night!  You could almost see the plants grinning and stretching out their leaves in sheer joy!

Of course this is a good time to do some weeding while the soil has some moisture in it and the weeds are fairly easy to pull.  I am currently rehearsing for a play called Trojan Women -a pretty demanding lead role too as Queen of stricken Troy after they have been defeated by the Greeks. ( The Trojan Horse stunt and all that!) So right now free time is scarce for weeding when line learning and rehearsals take up the bulk of my life outside work.  The show opens on October 5th but
hopefully though there will be time on Saturday to get some fresh air and relaxation in the garden and maybe take a picture or 2.  The cannas have done spectacularly well especially the gorgeous dark leaved Canna Australia and the variegated foliage version of Canna Stutgart giving splashes of eye-catching creamy bright l;ight to the shade area under the oak tree.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bulbs again

I hope the contrasting pictures help to prevent disappointment in planting bulbs that then don;t give a good show.  Even if you onlyhave a few bulbs -it is still much better to plant in clumps rather than try to spread them out too much.  for a more formal approach especially with tuilps you might like to plant staggered rows to give depth.  In other words plant one row  about 5 or 6 inches apart, then behind that plant a second row about 5 or 6 inches back and in the spaces from the first ones and if oyu have the bulbs plant a third row also.  Hope this helps.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall for Fall Bulbs

Now is the time to start planning for your fall bulb planting.  We are often asked about how many bulbs to plant in a certain space -how many  bulbs will make a good show?  Well the answer is really simple -   50 bulbs cover 10 square feet         That is an easy number to remember and and an easy number to work with.                          Let me show what I mean:             take this picture
you can see how lonely and lost these tulips look!
Ok so lets try again -now you can see what they look like en masse. Most designers recommend that you plant at least 50 bulbs to make a good show.  You can also of course plant in clumps of any shape.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Naked Ladies!!

Now is the time to plant the beautiful fall blooming Lycoris species -we have the Red radiata, the pink, squamigera and even the more uncommon yellow aurea. They have a variety of names from Naked Ladies, spider Lily, surprise lily as they suddenly pop up on naked stems with the leaves tagging along later.  Whatever you call them, they are a reliable perennial for the south -they love those sunny spots and require little maintenance or even water! Just be sure not to plant too deeply

Friday, August 12, 2011

No Rain

Still no rain!Can you believe it rained all around us -yet again! I think I need to learn how to do a rain dance?  Any offers to show me how to do that???

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


Rain at last -wonderful -4 hours of rain last night -the poor parched earth drank it all so greedily and the plants and grass are so greatful for the life elixir.  It is wonderful to see the transformation from the tired plants of yesterday.  I still have gladioli and caladiums coming up and opening out -can you believe that they still manage to exist and grow when it is so hot and dry.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fairies at the bottom of the garden

Ok -I had better this quote straight -here is the poem!     So now I have my plan for the fairy garden.  of course we need to look for one the boys too -maybe a dinosaur garden?   Of course they already have train gardens with small trains and stations and landscapes so it is time we had one for the girls too!           Sohave fun out there and create your own favorite garden areas.                                                                                                                                                                               The Fairies
by Rose Fyleman
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
  It's not so very, very far away;
You pass the gardener's shed and you just keep straight ahead -
  I do so hope they've really come to stay.
There's a little wood, with moss in it and beetles,
  And a little stream that quietly runs through;
You wouldn't think they'd dare to come merrymaking there-
          Well, they do.

There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
  They often have a dance on summer nights;
The butterflies and bees make a lovely little breeze,
  And the rabbits stand about and hold the lights.
Did you know that they could sit upon the moonbeams
  And pick a little star to make a fan,
And dance away up there in the middle of the air?
          Well, they can.

There are fairies at the bottom of our garden!
  You cannot think how beautiful they are;
They all stand up and sing when the Fairy Queen and King
  Come gently floating down upon their car.
The King is very proud and very handsome;
  The Queen--now you can quess who that could be
(She's a little girl all day, but at night she steals away)?
          Well -- it's Me!

Monday, July 11, 2011

fairy gardens and miniature gardens

The latest buzz from the Ohio trade show is of fairy gardens and miniature gardens.  Check out our catalog for all the miniature bulbs we carry and remember we can get far more than in out catalog or on the website we carry a range of delightful miniature daffodils and just beautiful miniature tulips.  Those little gems are such a joy and they are great perennials -even in the south! They are the botanical and gregii tulips and when they open their little faces to the sun they really do open out completely.  Find an area by the edge of your rock garden or in a flat pot or container to make your own miniature landscape for the deck or patio. there are miniature iris reticulata as well as daffs and tulips.   There are small alliums botanical crocus, delicate looking chonodoxa and ground hugging eranthis.  there are plenty of miniature ground cover plants too.  Fairy gardens can be lovely for indoors too.  Isn't it amazing how ideas just keep flowing setting you off on yet another tack?  there are always new creative initiatives for the garden to keep you on your toes and maybe add a touch of fun or whimsy to your outdoor living areas.  Gardens are ever changing ever developing works of art to reflect you and your family.  Dive in -have fun experiment grow young and fit and enjoy the elements and the seasons.  try a miniature area near a stepping stone where it will be seen.  i have a stone already with a quote form a childhood poem by Rose Fyldeman -"There are fairies at the bottom of our garden..."  I need to check out the rest of the poem and start to develop my little miniature landscape -mmm hope the weather is good this weekend!  Happy gardening.  Let emknow if you need more specific suggestions for plants or email us at Hope to hear from you soon.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


This a beautiful new lily called Elusive -it stayed tall and strong through the storms we hads too -oh and the fragrance mmmm-delicious!


Canna Australia -foreground, canna Carnival at the back
Here is the canna bed showing


Well the heat continues -at least we have had some rain for the garden.  I have een planting madly too in the morning I hasten to add; (by 9.30 it is already too hot for my English blood!) -caladiums and gladioli go in for a continuous show later inthe year when everything else is starting to look tired.  The cannas are thriving in the new bed -where I planted all those tulips -some of the new varieties are really coming on well too,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

More lilies

Well the heat continues -the pasture is getting all burned up and the garden is soooo dry.  My poor tomatoes are surviving somehow and the asparagus is STILL producing a few spears for me.  It has a been a bumper crop for Asparagus -mmmm delicious.  More lilies are opening up though and braving the blistering heat -thank goodness for the pool!
The cannas are loving the heat too though they need quite a bit a water especially the newly planted ones from tissue culture.  They have such gorgeous dark leaves too.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


Goodness it seems like the summer's heat is already here -in the 90s and starting to get more humid -What happened to those deliciously cool evenings?  Still the garden seems to find a way to compensate and what better way than a display of gorgeous lilies from the tall, regal hybrids to the smaller but equally eye-catching Asiatics.  of course this includes my very Patricia's Pride -not that I am prejudiced of course but I am sure you will agree it is a very beautiful lily with those rich purple brush strokes -anyway judge for yourself: See above

I will add more pictures tomorrow -showing the development of the garden and some of the other lovely lilies.  Goodness the garden is 4 year's old now -tempus fugit -time flies.  just back from a trip to Pennsylvania and Longwood Gardens' Lilytopia.  Words fail amid the splendour of such a magnificent display of lilies- check out heir website at It is an amazing place and if you have never been you need to add it to your bucket list!
Happy gardening!

Monday, April 18, 2011

tulip update

Here is one more picture of the no dig planting method -my PEPNOD -this was taken today before the tulips go over after the heat   What a beautiful day, cool morning, lovely sunshine and no humidity -planted herbs and tomatoes after work today.  This picture also shows how well the deer repellant works -no deer problems at all.  This stuff really stinks of garlic the day you spray, but after 24 hours it has disappeared Being systemic though it remains in the plant and is obviously distasteful to critters.
 Still picking asparagus -mmmm fresh picked asparagus this evening -ambrosia -and this is the 3rd year they have been in place so now I can pick all I want -that is luxury!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Here is a newsflash for you -we still have some limited availability on caladiums -so be sure you get your order in as soon as possible.  Call us on 1-800-999-0567.  We are out of reds but still have some really nice speckled Gingerland,  beautiful pink shade loving Kathleen, fabulous sun tolerant strap leaf Florida Sweetheart, the ever popular mixed caladiums and small quantities of a few others.

Some of the sizes in elephant ear bulbs are also running short this year so check those out too.  You can look up the varieties on our web page at 

Need help with how to plant or ideas for landscaping-just email or call us, we look forward to hearing from you


These are the tulips coming up from my No Dig planting method -they were planted very late so they are a little short but nevertheless you can see how well they are doing -and what a sight the bright Oxford tulip makes en masse like that.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

ponies in the tulips

These are some of the late planted tulips -it is Tulipa Ollioules and they are interplanted with Narcissus Allbright -a newer King Alfred type with a lovely big trumpet.  These are also planted using my PEPNOD -Patricia's  Easy Planting NOo Dig method!!n fact we ran out of dirt so these only have tree mulch!!!! The red tulips in the background are Oxford,
What a glorious way to lift your spirits -just meandering through a garden of spring bulbs is the best tonic!  You just have to smile.
Now though is the time to get those lilies in the ground and remember that all those gorgeous colored lettuce types available make perfect edging plants for the price of a packet of seeds -keep them well watered though after planting,  seedlings are so shallow rooted they dry out very quickly.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

species tulips

Here are some of the little species tulips on my rock garden.  They look so delicate but are tough survivors -these are nearer the old original type tulips and make good perennials.  See them open totally as they bask in the afternoon sunshine then shyly close their petals for nightfall, conserving their energy for another day of beauty!  Some are tiny little jewels to be savored close up, but some are reasonably tall and still eye-catching when planted en masse.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

English Mothers Day

English Mother's day tomorrow and a beautiful bouqet of lilies arrived from my son!!!

In the garden many of the early daffodils are now over and even some tulips!  Goodness they were so early this year.  The species tulips on the rock garden came back for their third year -they are just gorgeous and a pretty good perennial for this part of the world.  Some are really quite tall too though the flowers are smaller and more delicate looking.

Now is also the time to begin planting for the summer show.  we still jhave lilies.  Have you tried the wonderful orange double tiger lily it is just stunning.  great pick for those Clemson fans too!  Don't forget my own beautiful asiatic lily Patricia's Pride.  i will look out a picture for you tomorrow so you can see just how lucky I am to have such an awesome flower named for me!
Planted some Grand Cru lilies in the wine garden this morning. They are also eye catching in gold and red and they are paired with the white lily Muscadet for a stunning summer show.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Radio broadcast

 Just to let you know that the first radio broadcast i did with Bob Polomski the Clemson Extension agent will air on NPR 90.1 thursday 10th March check out the full program at

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Just a small addendum -I needed to add a picture of that 'host of golden daffodils -just to give a splash of yellow. 

fabulous flowers

Well it may be raining today -and a good thing too on all those bulbs planted earlier this year, but a look out the windows in any direction, shows gorgeous drifts of yellow and creamy white splashed with purple, pink and blue.  Daffodils of all kinds and sizes are peering through everywhere, every day, in an ever increasing crescendo of color.  Hyacinths, Iris reticulata, Ipheon and clouds of white apple and plum blossom make up the supporting chorus.  What a joy.  Even a few snowdrops have manged to come back for me and tulip leaves are everywhere, returning from last year.  The very first little pink and cream Kaufmannii tulip in a pot by the shed is actually opening -on March5?     Now check out these pictures:
 Cardboard and newspaper placed over the grass and watered, then covered with bulbs
 OK, so we have access to more bulbs than you but this works on a smaller scale too!
Cover the bulbs with dirt and mulch

So there it is - my 'PEPNOD'  -Patricia's Easy Plant No Dig method -Wow it worked getting the pictures up there! So now you can see how we planted thousands of bulbs in an afternoon! Also the shape is such that it is very easy to mow around, saving yet more time later in the season  I will keep you uptodate on their progress.  Now I do admit to using weedkiller around the edge for the first season, then in the fall when the ground is moist I will dig out around the edge for the future.  That apple tree on the left by the way is blooming its heart out right now.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Well we have started shipping Caladiums but they can only go out in the ground after the soil warms up and the the temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees overnight.  Don't let this warm spell fool you into thinking you can plant early!!!  Greenhouse planting is fine, providing it is heated.  Caladiums are desperately short this year after adverse weather in Florida last year -so if you haven't ordered yet -you may have problems getting the varieties you want -or even getting many at all!  So get those late orders in asap! Call us at Marlboro Bulb 1-800-999-0567 to see what we have left.  Or email  They are disappearing very rapidly.
On the home front- this glorious weekend weather in SC was perfect for getting out there and planting the last of the daffodils.  Though inventory of Caladiums at the warehouse did get in the way for a couple of hours yesterday! However, walking round the garden there was so much activity with little crocus and even a few snowdrops after all!!  Joy! It lifts my spirits so-The first couple of the little Narcissus Grand Soleil D'or were shining in the sunlight and the winter honeysuckle -Lonicera fragrantissima, with its myriad tiny white blooms, gave a heady whiff of delicious perfume every time I walked past.  This honeysuckle is a twiggy shrub, pretty scruffy (untidy) the rest of the year really but a real treasure when it blooms and part of my plan to create  a full 12 months interest in the garden.  Many of the small, species tulips are showing through and coming back for a 2nd or 3rd year now, they do make a better perennial than their larger, showier cousins, the full sized tulips.  But who can resist those beautiful jewels of late spring.  Tulips come in so many bright colors, they are a must for me even if they only come back one or 2 more years  here in the south.  Darwin Hybrids in general, especially Pink Impression do particularly well in the south.  Another bulb I love, is the grape hyacinth -Muscari Armeniacum.  It is a wonderful winter ground cover as the leaves appear in September and can you believe those leaves stayed green all through this tough winter season of snow, ice and frost.  They will continue through until April when the tiny clusters of heavenly blue flowers push through.  They multiply so easily and will take our brutal sun.  Make a note for next fall's order!!!  I need ot take pictures don't I?  OK; I promise to do better next time!

Friday, February 11, 2011

radio update

Well, we did the radio interview -a series of 3 actually.  Hopefully  I will get the links to those so you can tune in and listen to them on line. But first I must correct the spelling of Bob's name!  Bob Polomski the Clemson extension agent.  Abject apologies Bob.  It was fun though talking about getting out in the garden and all the marvellous bulbs available and also the fun and the healthful spin offs from having and creating a garden.  A garden really is an extension of you and your personality.  You take a lot of care to personalize your indoor rooms and it can be just as much fun to create those outside 'rooms' or areas.  Make a place to have a picnic or sit and unwind.  Follow a theme and then see what an avid collector you will become of say daffodils or hostas or lilies or choose a color theme like orange and purple for those tiger fans or black and garnet for South Carolina fans!!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Hi Everyone
Bob Polemsky, the Clemson extension agent has asked me to talk with him on the radio tomorrow about bulbs and gardening, Friday Feb 11  around 11am -I will have to find out what the frequency is for that.  That will be fun so hope you can tune in and listen though it probably doesn't have too wide a distribution area

Monday, February 7, 2011

Spring Bulbs

At last, the first of the species crocus is coming through and was shining bravely in the sunshine yesterday.  It was bliss to get out there and do some gardening.  It was not just the effect of the awful weather this winter keeping me out of the garden but also number of trade shows -it is a busy time of year for that with trips to Atlanta, GA and Greensboro, NC and also to Myrtle Beach in South Carolina -I was so hoping to get my walk on the beach and collect black rocks and oyster shells for my Asian garden -I have a dry river bed -my Black river I call it.  Well it poured with rain sending everything dripping and steaming but finally on sturday morning despite the mist it was not raining! Hurray!  I dragged on my jacket -it seemed to be warm enough to be with a hat so I left that on the seat in the car and headed for the pier. At least I started off in that direction across the sand, the pier was still shrouded in a white misty swirling haze. No tickling my toes in the sand this year  -still, I was enjoying the sound of the water and watching all the seagulls delving their long beaks into the wet sand. I arrived at the pier and guess what?  Yes the rain came down faster and faster.  My hat was in the car -but heck rain water is good for your hair -so they tell me!  Fortunately I hadn't checked out of my hotel so was still able to go back to my room and dry my dripping hair.  It was unpleasantly dripping down my neck by this time.  But iDID get mey walk on the beach -no shells though this time. 
Back to planting bulbs -we planted about 5000 Oxford tulips yesterday -my method -the easy plant way. I have been saving cardboard to lay on the insiduously creeping Bermuda grass we call lawn.  After wetting it with thehose the tulips are dumped unceremoniously in a heap over it and then raked to spread out in a single layer.  Next come a few wheelbarrowfuls of topsoil and compost and finally a layer of shredded tree mulch.  that's it -that's how to plant a brand new flower bed -the very easy way.  Several layers of newspaper will also help to supress grass and weeds if you don't have enough cardboard.  This a great way to start a new bed or do landscaping. I know it is a little late to plant tulips but it has been so cool and the left over bulbs at Marlboro Bulb Company, SC are in good shape -so we will see.  I will keep you posted.  Daffodils are still fine for another couple of weeks in many areas too by the way. Happy plantings!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Planting bulbs

70 degrees today!  Unbelievable after the awful winter we have had this year.  What with endless frosty nights and SNOW.  Snow in South Carolina? Well, at least the bulbs have stayed in good condition and are ready to plant.  And was I ready for a day in the garden -oh my goodness, I couldn't wait to get out there today.  I planted 300 Pink Surprise hyacinths in the hosta garden and 100 Red Riding Hood tulips on the rock garden.  And some daffodils, alliums and white anemones too. But I go too fast, maybe a little background right now and then over time we can talk about planting bulbs en masse and our series of gardens (including my own 5 o' clock garden! Asian garden, white garden etc).  Anyway,  Marlboro Bulb is owned by 5 Dutchmen and run by Jack my husband -he is 4 th generation working in bulbs and was born in Holland so he knows his stuff. We basically wholesale flower bulbs.  Although we have fairly small quantities as a minimum, so garden clubs and individuals order from us too.  Our website is so check us out there.  Me? I am a Brit, so I guess I was born gardening and I like nothing better than to be out in the garden pottering and planting.  Keeps you fit and keeps you young and beautifies your home surroundings-what more can you ask from a  hobby?  You can always call and ask for ideas too or if you would like to come and see the garden in upstate South Carolina you only have to phone the office at 1-800-999-0567 and ask for Patricia and we will arrange  a time for you.  It is a relatively new garden  - not yet 4 years old and all done by hand with lots of sweat, thousands and thousands of bulbs and much loving care.  Interested?  Come back for more installments!