Planting bulbs in a warm climate plus a HUGE Cyber Book Party!


I’m honored to be participating in Fran Sorin’s Cyber Book Party (complete with two grand giveaways!) celebrating the updated 10th Anniversary Edition of her groundbreaking book Digging Deep – Unearthing Your Creative Roots Through Gardening.

I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Fran personally over the years, believing our styles of gardening, designing and the way in which we view life to be in lockstep with one another.

I’ve read her book several times and each time I re-read her chapters on Sparking your creativity, Giving shape to your dream, The act of nurturing, Enjoying what you have sown, I find myself nodding and muttering aloud ‘yes – exactly!’ 

Fran has written this book for all gardeners, with all levels of experience.  It’s more than just a guideline to help you create your own, personal garden but is also filled with practical and specific exercises to help unlock your inner creativity.

bulbI especially love the title, Digging Deep, which holds extra meaning for me this year as I’m battling breast cancer.

My chemotherapy treatments leave me with precious little energy to think about gardening, much less anything else.  And believe me when I say I’ve had to dig deep, really deep, just to get up in the morning to take my morning stroll through my garden.

When I was first diagnosed in September I quickly realized that surgery was in my near future (in February).  One of the first things I did was to plan ahead in my garden as much as I possibly could.

I knew I’d be pretty house-bound for about 4-6 weeks after my surgery, which would also coincide with my garden waking from its winter nap.

Which is when we all want to get out and start gardening again, right? Gamble Garden bulbs

So, to help alleviate my anticipated angst and frustration of not being able to work in my garden, I’ve been chilling bulbs this year.  I’ll plant them in big containers that I’ll place on my back patio – right outside of my bedroom window.

I’ve chosen tulips in soft shades of pink, peach and apricot along with small soft yellow tazetta daffodils to plant around the perimeter.Poeticus ornatus and Firetail

I also placed a special order with one of my favorite heirloom bulb companies (Old House Gardens).  I’m so excited to to plant my now-chilling 100-year old pheasant-eye narcissus ‘Firetail’ and ‘Poeticus Ornatus’!

I just know that their weeks and weeks of cheery blooms will keep me content while I’m on bed rest.West Point Tulips

With our mild California winters, tulips, hyacinths, many daffodils and crocus don’t get enough mandatory winter-chill hours to bloom if they’re planted directly in the ground.

So planning ahead and pre-chilling them for 6-8 weeks is mandatory (here’s how I do this in my own garden.)Sunset Garden's Flaming Persimmon and Cafe Noir Tulips

And, in fact, I was recently interviewed by a newspaper where I discuss some of my favorite year-round bulbs that I like to include in my garden designs. (Click here to read.)

One more tip – for a fun way to force bulbs in time for the holidays, Susan Morrison has an effective and unique way of using vodka.  Curious? Click here!

Now to the FUN part of the book party – the PRIZES!

Fran has offered each participating blogger TWO prize packages for TWO lucky winners!

FullSizeRender[1].jpg - Nature Innovations Photo of Container

Prize Package #1

A collection of four incredibly realistic looking oak and birch planters, hand-crafted in the U.S. from Nature Innovations ($149.00 value!)Blog Seed Giveaway 000_4239.jpg - Baker Creek Seeds- Cyber Giveaway- 19 hand picked selections of veggies and flowersPrize Package #2

A hand picked collection of 19 different rare veggie and flower seed varieties from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds . Not familiar with Baker Creek Seeds?  (Click here to read a review I wrote on their book and their amazing heirloom seed company.)MooPooTea

In addition to the collection of heirloom seeds you’ll also be receiving a 3-pack variety of Authentic Haven Brand’s Moo Poo Tea Bags – the perfect start for your new little seedlings!

How to Play?  All you need to do to enter to win is to leave a comment below on my blog telling me about 1) your favorite bulbs or 2) the seeds you can’t live without.

But Wait – There’s More!   Just head on over to the other 7 participating blogs below and leave a comment on their sites to increase your odds of winning.  There’s a total of EIGHT of us participating which means you have EIGHT changes to win!   And, as if the prizes aren’t enough Fran has also priced the e-book version of Digging Deep at a discounted rate of .99 cents during the giveaway.  Just click here to download your copy now.

Who else is participating in the giveaway?

Helen Yoest@
Dee Nash @
Brenda Haas

Gardening Gone Wild


Best of lucky everyone, and Happy Holidays!


UPDATE:  Using a Random Number Generator we have 2 winners!  Congratulations Darla A. who won prize #1 and Kay who won prize #2!   I’ve sent you both an email so all I need is your address and I’ll coordinate getting the prizes shipped to you. 

I wanted to thank everyone for their great bulb and seed recommendations (several of which were new to me!) and for the good wishes re: my health.  If you didn’t win this time, I’ll be hosting another giveaway in a few days so stay tuned!

The winner will be randomly chosen by midnight Dec. 8th and contacted within 24 hours. If the proposed winner forfeits or does not claim the prize by Dec. 13th, the prize will be re-awarded based on the sponsor’s sole discretion. All prizes will be awarded. Please provide your name and email to enter this contest, so I can immediately contact you if you win. The winner agrees to allow his/her first name to be mentioned in conjunction with this giveaway.

This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only, who are over the age of 18 years old. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO WIN. This sweepstakes is VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW (wherever that is, I’d sure hate to live there!) By entering this giveaway, you are agreeing to these conditions.

Enjoyed this article?  Please share it with others: 

Please leave a comment below


  • My favorite bulb is the old fashioned King Alfred daffodil but hyacinths are a close second.

  • I love daffodil bulbs. I love to see them poke up through the soil and flutter in the spring days. So many of my favorite childhood memories involve daffodils. As for seed, I can’t live without pepper seeds. I have so much fun growing them even though nobody else in my family eats them but me. I give all of the peppers away, which is fun in and of itself.

  • Thank you so much for your time and energy to write this post on the giveaway and how you’re doing – you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    I have various favorites at different times of the year and favorites depending upon what my physical body requires. Currently, I would have to say my two favorites right now would be… Nettle (seeds for the kidneys) and Chaga Mushroom (for power-packed overall wellness) – I think you might want to do a little searching on them yourself and see if they too don’t become a favorite for you right now.
    My connection with plants, and fungi, deepens each time I use or eat one. The sacredness of working with the plant kingdom, outdoors or in the kitchen, always brings a new awareness towards something I hadn’t known about them previously.
    My best wishes to you.

  • My favorite bulb is the iris. They are easy to grow and I tend to beg family members for “extras” that they may need to divide out. I have many from family members who have passed on to the great garden in the sky. I call the garden. a memory garden. It brings a smile to me and fond memories when various plants bloom, especially a brilliant yellow iris that was my grandma’s.She was a hardworking country gal with a sunny disposition Nice thoughts as I type this comment. Seeds…. hmmm……one would be the German Pink tomato and another the good ol Tendercrop bush green been.

  • My favorite bulb is hard to choose, but probably everything in the allium family especially the drumstick because it is several colors. Seeds is even harder, I like all seeds and grow veggies by seed in my garden. Right now I am focusing on growing edibles, which are mostly by seed, and in terms of edible bulbs, the alliums like garlic, shallot, multiplier onion, and welsh onion. Hope you get better.

  • picking a favorite would be hard but i love the snowdrops…they are a precious sight after the long months of winter bleakness.

  • Snowdrops are my favorite bulbs. To see them peeking through the snow reminds me that spring will soon follow!

  • Mary, Mary quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    In lovely log containers,
    from seeds that do not contain GMO’s.
    A garden that has been sown,
    to make homegrown foods with ingredients that are known;
    not created in a test tube
    or made from ingredients that are found in oil lube!

  • You will be in my prayers. Thanks for sharing your story with your readers. What a great idea to chill you bulbs so they will be blooming as you recover from surgery. Smart woman you are! I love anything tulip! And seeds? My favorite is heart seed aka: love in a puff!

  • My favorite bulbs are crinums – any color, any size. Any time somebody asks me if I want some crinums, I say yes – lol. My have-to-have seeds are the plain zinnias – I grow them at least one clump of them in each of my flower beds. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  • I’ve long been a fan of yours, Rebecca, and own your books. I am so sorry to hear your news — know that you are in my thoughts and prayers! I took your advice and photographed my garden in black and white, then used seeds to add color and texture. For the color, I really can’t do without zinnias which I grow from seed indoors and plant outside after the last frost. Thanks for being a host of this great cyber party. P. x

  • Many favorite bulbs, but am partial to fragrant lilies and hyacinths. Thanks for the contest, and good luck, everyone!

  • I haven’t really done anything with bulbs though I did buy an amaryllis for my office recently. Must have seeds are always for herbs.

  • enjoying your words of patience and looking for the best outcomes for your upcoming surgery and more on your journey. the garden is my teacher and love all of the tutors.

  • Digging Deep is one of the best book I read this fall. Gardening is not only about digging and weeding, and more gets planted than vegetable seeds out in the peace of the garden. Creativity grows out of the quiet; it cannot be conceived in the jangle of modern technology.

  • I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite bulb, but I really like crocus. They may be small but they’re very beautiful. I’m trying chilling some for the first time this year I can’t wait to see how they do.

  • My grandmother grew the most amazing hydrangeas with enormous floppy heads made up of tiny flowers. I was mesmerized and knew gardening was for me.

  • Would like to read Digging Deep. Living in Missouri we don’t have to pre chill bulbs but the deer sure love tulips.
    Frieda Hickman

  • I plant more daffodils every year on our property by the road. It’s a cheery and much welcome sight to come home to when they are all in bloom. Neighbors thank me for planting them where they can see them as they drive or walk by. I also plant sweet peas seeds in the fall annually for spring blooms.

  • I really want to start a whole bunch of daffodils! I would also like to try to grow sunflowers from seed. I just have to keep the deer away.

  • Best wishes for a speedy recovery. I planted Eremurus for the first time last year and they were fantastic so right now they are my favorite. I would hate to be without any poppies. Now is the time to sow the seed here.

  • Dear Rebecca-
    Your participation in Digging Deep’s Cyber Book Party has special meaning to me knowing what you’re going through right now. I appreciate your generosity of spirit and time deeply.

    Not only is your article reflective and personal (which I love) but you have offered us some great ideas on how to use bulbs. Must go back and click on Susan Morrison’s tips on using vodka! xo-Fran

  • I love all types of Tulips. They always mean spring is about here. We also have Amaryllis that we bring in and winter over in the garage, that are showstoppers every year.

  • My favorite bulb is the daffodil in all its many forms. The very first flowers my husband ever gave me was a huge bunch of Narcissus poeticus picked from his parents’ farm. They were planted in rows in a field by a previous owner. I would love to win those planters.

  • I can’t live without vegetable seeds. So many can go to seed after a few harvests so I can reap the bounty for next year.

    As for bulbs, freesia is my pick for its heady fragrance in the garden.

  • My favorite bulbs are the early spring wee flowers – the species tulips, mini daffs, snowdrops, grape hyacinths, snow crocuses, etc (can’t narrow it down any more than that). And the seeds I can’t live without? All the ones I collect from both annuals and perennials in my garden each year – it’s how my garden ‘grows’ (and so thrifty)!

  • Whoa. I would love to say what bulbs I can’t live without, but this is my first winter in a while where I can actually grow bulbs. (Florida is not sper-conducive to such dreams.) The seeds I can’t do without are Gallardia. They provide fluttering petals of sunshine for several months!

  • The seeds I can’t live without are coriander cooking seeds. We buy a big bag from the Indian store and scatter them around the garden for a constant supply of cilantro.

  • I saw black krim tomato on the seed list which I MUST try next summer.
    I love your photos!

  • I was really happy to read about the drought tolerant bulbs that don’t require digging. I’m too lazy to dig and chill bulbs but I’ll explore the varieties that don’t require it. A love pom-pom-like alliums and hope to find some bulbs! Love Baker Creek, too!

  • Judging from the cover photo and the title…I would read this especially nestled next to a fire and hot cocoa! Happy Reading and Digging!

  • Wonderful to hear that you are doing well and planning ahead to add cheer when you will need it most.

    In my mild climate Amaryllis grown out in the garden and Crinum work best. I’ve thought of trying chilled bulbs so will look forward to seeing your ideas blooming in the spring.

  • Hello Rebecca,
    So good to hear that you are in good spirits and kicking ass for a colorful floral display this later winter.
    The beautiful simplicity of a terra cotta pot full of daffodils in late winter is enough to make anyone smile.
    Michelle Derviss

  • I love lilies of all kinds, though my favorite is probably tiger lily. This year I planted a double tiger I can’t wait to see in bloom. I’m also trying my hands at tulips for the first time, hoping the deer don’t eat them all. Of those I planted, I’m most excited about ‘Orange Favorite’ an heirloom parrot that’s orange with bits of green and pink in it. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  • I still love daffodils but I’m relying more and more on bulbs like freesia and sparaxis these days. I also can’t due without anemones. I have serious raccoon problems so I can never trust that seeds will stay where I put them – California poppies, Calendula and allyssum are the most reliable for me.

    Best wishes with your treatment and recovery.

  • Daffodils! Lots of them…all kinds of them. We just bought a second home in Grass Valley CA…and the deer don’t eat them. Here in town I have daffodils, hyacinths, lilies, and some-I don’t even know the name of. Bulbs are little Spring miracles!

  • I love to overwinter sweet pea seeds in my garden. Love the delicate look of the flowers in the spring and the smell. Oh the sweet, sweet, smell!

  • My favorite bulbs are gladiolus. I didn’t try growing them for years because I’d been told they wouldn’t do well, that they were a lot of work, etc. The first year I had some nice blooms, and I even remembered to lift the corms in the fall (lots of babies ended up in the soil and I just left them out of curiosity). Most of those grew this past year and several had very lovely blooms. I’m glad I didn’t let the naysayers keep me from trying the glads!

    As for seeds – tomatoes. I love tomatoes. I would say borage or calendula, but both of those have naturalized themselves in my beds so I am in no danger of running out. Ever.

  • How wonderful that you can still have bulbs this spring. I look forward to hyacinths and their fragrance each spring. I have Fran’s book and it is next on my list to read so I am excited about that and perhaps having a chance to win one of these great prizes. Keeping you in my thoughts and sending lots of healing energy your way!!

  • I fell in love with blooming Leucojum Aestivum ‘Summer Snowflake’ bulbs at Riverbanks Zoo & botanical garden, Columbia, SC this past spring. I must order and plant more narcissus and Leucojum bulbs in January. We are zone 8 so I have to wait later to plant bulbs in our semi tropic zone. Thanks Rebecca! Sending you healing prayers!

  • My favorite bulb is Tahiti. It has beauty, a wonderful fragrance, is great for cutting and holds up to the weather. If that’s not enough to make it my favorite, voles, gophers and deer leave it alone. I’m new to your site and wish you well.

  • My favorite bulb is Haemanthus katherinae (I think the name has been changed to Scadoxus). It looks like red pick-up sticks stuck into a ball. Wild looking, but beautiful.

  • Hello Rebecca
    I am pleased to learn about your blog and look forward to reading it during the long winter months in my state of Michigan. Planting, tending, planning and learning about gardens is always an optimistic and creative endeavor. I know your passion for gardening will help you through this difficult time for you.

    Naming my favorite bulbs feels a bit like the impossible task of naming your favorite child. I love them all but I do like playing around with the lessor used bulbs like Camassia, Chionodoxa, large form of Alliums, and Galanthus.

  • I love naturalized daffodils. I have thousands, planting a few hundred every fall. Also love the red Darwin tulips.

  • I can’t live without bulbs. I have to admit that it was working at OHG that got me hooked. At the last minute, I ordered $80 in bulbs. I just got the shipment notification yesterday. I will be chilling them in my fridge and then planting them in pots for my rooftop garden (this is new to me, having just moved). I’m also growing ‘Erlicheer’ daffodil. It’s so easy to force, cute and fragrant. I need a flowers to get me through the winter!

    I can’t live without veggie seeds. I prefer to grow my own vegetables rather than buy produce. The process of gardening makes me happy and you cannot beat a tomato fresh off the vine.


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