The Bulb Hunter
Gardening, Gardens
7 x 9.5, 288 pp.
171 color, 1 b&w photo. Index.
Pub Date: 10/10/2013
Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Service Series
  flexbound (with flaps)
Price:        $29.95

978-1-60344-821-5
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The Bulb Hunter

Chris Wiesinger and William C. Welch

Dubbed the Bulb Hunter in a 2006 New York Times feature story, Chris Wiesinger took his passion for bulbs to vacant lots, abandoned houses, cemeteries, and construction sites throughout the South in search of botanical survivors whose descendants had never seen the inside of a big-box chain store. The vintage specimens Wiesinger sought came from hardy, historic stock, adapted to human neglect and hot climates, reappearing faithfully over decades without care or cultivation.

Traveling back roads, speaking to strangers, looking for the telltale color of a remnant iris or lily, Wiesinger started digging, then began trying to grow and share the bulbs he collected. From its humble beginnings on an East Texas sweet potato farm, his Southern Bulb Company has now grown into a full-fledged business known throughout the world, propagating and selling the rare, tough, heritage plants Wiesinger still seeks out and champions.

Nicknamed “Flower” by his fellow cadets at Texas A&M University, Wiesinger relates his adventures in bulb hunting, telling stories of the bulbs he has discovered and weaving in his own life story as a student, plantsman, and small business owner. He then teams with veteran horticulturist William C. Welch to provide advice on how to grow and appreciate the bulbs that have been rescued and reintroduced. This “primer” gives gardeners information on what bulbs to grow where, when to plant them and when they bloom, and how to incorporate them with other plants in the landscape.

Finally, Welch describes how bulbs have enhanced his personal gardens and brought him and Wiesinger together in the common cause of heirloom gardening. Entertaining, informative, and loaded with beautiful photographs, The Bulb Hunter is sure to be a favorite of gardeners and plant lovers everywhere.

CHRIS WIESINGER is the owner of the Southern Bulb Company, near Tyler, Texas (featured in the New York Times, Southern Living, and House and Garden), where he farms and sells bulbs. He speaks to gardening groups throughout the country. WILLIAM C. WELCH is professor and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service landscape horticulturist in College Station. He is a regular contributor to Southern Living and frequent speaker to gardening groups across the US.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Wiesinger makes a living finding pretty things in ravaged places. . . . While the pursuit of heirloom botanicals may have an air of elitism about it, [he] goes after what one might think of as the Barbara Stanwycks of floriculture: resilient flowers without patrician connotation that thrive in areas largely lost to the economic revival of the New South. His is the world of old cotton towns, condemned properties, abandoned buildings and houses where torn sofas crest on bowed porch fronts."—New York Times

"In his latest book, the bulb hunter weaves tales of his quest for these plant survivors with endearing stories from his personal life. And he teams with mentor and Texas A&M horticulturist Bill Welch to give gardeners the how-to on growing the treastured bulbs." --Kathy Huber

"Special-interest gardeners may want to try a book on bulbs that grow well here. Christ Wiesinger, and expert on this subject, has a book out called The Bulb Hunter that they would love." -- Melody Fitzgerald

"[Wiesinger] shares his knowledge of different species with fellow gardeners in friendly prose. Educator and horticulturist William Welch offers some practical tips on naturalizing bulbs. Clear photographs provide the reader with excellent portraits of some of these rare specimens." --Marilyn K. Alaimo.

"I recommend The Bulb Hunter for any warm-climate gardener, bulb nut, or anyone who enjoys a behind-the-scenes look at starting a garden-related business. It's also for those who love stories about people who are passionate about plants." --Pam Penick

"This is a lively and revealing account spiced with over a hundred color panels and plenty of gardening and botanical insights, perfect for science, home and garden and general-interest readers alike."—The Midwest Book Review

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