Podcast: Fall Bulbs - Jim Hole's Top 5 Tips

Are you wondering about planting fall bulbs but couldn't make it out to one of Jim's FREE talks? Well, you're in luck! Jim Hole has recorded a fall bulb podcast on the Hole's Radio Network, available here.

In this episode of the Hole's Radio Network, Jim Hole chats with Brad Walker—the reluctant gardener—about the top 5 things everybody needs to know about fall bulbs: from the right way to plant them, to the right time, and some secrets on what makes them bloom.

Play it below or download it by clicking here and, when you're done checking it out, please let us know what you think (by replying in the comments below). Also, let us know if you'd like to see more podcasts or video tutorials in the future.

Planting Garlic and Irises in the Fall

Not everyone thinks of September as the time to plant things (most people are too busy harvesting their vegetable gardens), but for spring flowering bulbs, September and October are THE time to get things into the ground.

Irises are one of the fall bulbs that benefit from being planted first thing in September and we have some great new varieties available. Here are a few of our favourites on our shelves right now.

"Blue Suede Shoes" is a rich, gorgeously coloured, blue bearded iris. Blue flowers are hard to come by whether they are annuals or perennials, so to have a bulb that will come back in blue year-after-year is a pure delight.

As a bonus, this is a particularly fragrant iris and will rebloom as well. What more can you ask for? These blue suede shoes will leave you dancing with joy.

Another reblooming bearded iris, "Ancient Echoes" has some beautiful fiery colours. These flowers will add some striking contrast to your garden and will visually pop-out from quite a distance. Great for front yards if your goal is to get the neighborhood's attention!

Finally, a bit more of an elegant bearded iris, this "Bountiful Harvest" variety will also rebloom, making it ideal for cutflowers. Great for a more graceful style, consider this one if you like to have a classically beautiful garden.


Fall is also a great time to plant garlic.

"Duganski" is a new variety for us this year, and it is fiery! Featuring purple stripes, it has a mellow aftertaste and is a great variety to plant if you like to cook with garlic a lot.

"German Hardneck" is another variety with a milder taste. If you like roasted garlic fresh out of the oven, this is THE garlic variety to use and plant as it roasts beautifully.

Finally, we also have "Elephant Garlic." While this is technically a member of the leek family, you'd never know it as it looks just like a very large garlic bulb and can be used in the same way. It is especially good raw because of its mild garlic taste... so if you're looking to make a pesto, tapenade, bruschetta, or salad, this is definitely a good variety to consider.

Summer Blooming Flower Bulbs

If you’re looking for stunning blooms in your garden this year, now is the time to plant those bulbs!

There are lots of fantastic options to choose from, such as such as gladioli, callas, dahlias, lilium, tuberous begonias, and crocosmias. When it comes to summer blooming bulbs, you've got choice!

Here are a few of our favourites. Each of these will bloom at slightly different times and complement each other, giving you a gorgeous display all the way from early to late summer:


 Lilium – Mysterious Blend (Liliaceae)  – An early-summer bloomer, this is a great new mix on an old favourite. “Mysterious Blend” is a stunning mix of Asiatic lilies with flowers of the purest white mixed with flowers of the deepest purples and reds.

The flowers feature glossy petals that are firm and long-lasting in cut flower arrangements, or as a surefire way to add dramatic colour to your garden.

Lilium prefer full-sun to partial-shade, and grow 90-150cm tall.


Calla – Royal Majesty (Zantedeschia aethiopica) –  A mid-summer bloomer, Callas have a certain air of elegance like no other flower. Their unique cup- shape, upright sword-like leaves, and vivid colours are a favourite for both gardeners and florists alike! 

The “Royal Majesty” mix is a gorgeous blend of whites, pinks and purples. These cool tones will certainly be the focal highlight of your garden.

Perfect for container gardening, or used as a border in your garden, Callas are surprisingly easy to grow. Enjoying full sun to partial shade and growing 30-91cm tall.


Dahlia – Myrtle’s Folly (Dahlia fimbriata) A late-summer bloomer, it’s hard to imagine a flower more eye-popping than this enormous burst of narrow, twisted, and vibrantly colored petals. 

Each dinner-plate blossom is massive and an absolute bonfire of hot colors. From gold to peach to hot pink, the Myrtle’s Folly Dahlia is a beautiful one-of-a-kind bouquet all on its own!

 Myrtle's Folly Dahlia is a large plant, and will grow to be about 122cm tall at maturity, with a spread of 76cm. Since the blooms are so massive, the flower stalks can be weak and may require staking in exposed sites or excessively rich soils.



Gladiolus, gladioli!


When I was growing up on the farm, Mom always planted a single row of gladioli in her vegetable patch. She just loved the beautiful flowers and would often head out to the garden in the summer and gather up a bunch of gladioli stalks to stick straight into a tall, clear, glass vase. The large flowers set on the tall straight spikes were always spectacular and looked incredible all on their own, without the addition of any other flowers or greenery. 

I was always amazed that these little brown corms could grow so quickly and produce such tall, magnificent spikes in such short order. Gladiolus grows best in rich, loamy soil and we had plenty of them by our old farmhouse.

For 2015, it’s exciting to see so many wonderful gladioli varieties available to plant in our yards. Everything from purples, blues and greens, to colourful mixed varieties like "Tutti Frutti", "Tropical Blend" or "Chocolate & Banana Blend".

If you haven’t planted gladiolus before, give it a try. It is unsurpassed as an outstanding cutflower for summer weddings, backyard BBQs, or simply to liven-up the kitchen or livingroom. And don’t be afraid to put a row in your vegetable patch if you have the space. Just remember to place the row of glads to the east side of the patch so that the tall spikes don’t block the sunlight for the vegetables.

The north to south row on the east side of the garden always worked out great in Mom’s garden.


~Jim Hole

p.s. There are still a few spots left for my tomato workshop on Saturday, April 18th. You can sign up by clicking here or using the button below.


Dinner Plate Dahlias


As the name suggests, dinner plate dahlias are plants that produce giant, dinner plate-sized flowers.

And while the size of their flowers is impressive in itself, even more impressive is the myriad of colours, textures, and varieties of dinner plate dahlias there are to choose from. With their huge variety, and huge flowers, they are—in my opinion—the most spectacular of all the garden plants that we can grow here.


Here Comes Doll-ee-uh

Dahlias originated in the tropical climes of Central and South America, are the national flower of Mexico, and were named after Swedish botanist Anders Dahl a couple of centuries ago.

But if Anders was around today, he might be a little upset because few people correctly pronounce the name of the plant that bears his name. Dahlias should be pronounced “doll - ee - uhs” but most people call them “day - lee - uhs.

I confess that I also pronounce it incorrectly, but I grew up saying day and I just can’t seem to kick the habit.


My 3 Favourites

Picking out the best varieties is tough because there are so many great ones but here are few of my favourites:

  1.  “Kelvin Floodlight” is aptly named because it produces bold, bright-yellow flowers that I find very uplifting because of their warm colour. When the sunlight hits Kelvin Floodlight it does indeed look like it is emitting a beam of light.
  2.  “Sir Alfred Ramsey” is two-toned and, for some strange reason, reminds me of a popsicle. Bright-white petals crown the top of the flower with dark pink tones adorning the bottom of the cluster. Where Kelvin Floodlight evokes feelings of warmth, Sir Alfred Ramsey looks icy and cool.
  3.  “Avignon” is one more of my favourites. It has white petals and appears to have been splashed with purple paint from an artist’s paintbrush. It’s the haute couture dahlia amongst the group and the one I find most intriguing.


Let These Dinner Plates Cool Off

The toughest part about growing dinner plate dahlias is slowing them down. They tend to shoot-up very rapidly in warm temperatures, sowhile it is important to warm the roots for rapid and vigorous rootingit is wise to cool them down a bit once they emerge from the soil. Bright light and temperatures in the 16-18°C range are ideal once the dahlias begin to poke through the soil.

All dinner plate dahlias like a rich, well-drained soil, and because they are such large, floriferous plants they need quite a bit of food to keep them healthy and robust. I give my dahlias a shot of Nature’s Source Fertilizer every week, and they respond beautifully with vigorous growth and beautiful flowers.

Keep in mind that dinner plate dahlias, like all dahlias, are not frost tolerant and the tubers must be pulled out of the garden in fall and stored indoor in a cool, dark spot. A cold but not freezing garage is ideal.

Warning: Dahlias May be Addictive

Dinner plate dahlias are perfect showstoppers and make any gardener feel like an expert. But be forewarned. Growing spectacular, gigantic dinner plate dahlias can be addictive and, once you’ve grown them, it may kill your desire to purchase any plants described as dwarf, miniature or petite.  



What's Blooming In December? Indoor Bulbs and Christmas Roses!

Back in October, we planted a whole bunch of indoor bulbs including Amaryllis and Hyacinths. After many weeks of waiting, they're finally coming into bloom!

The hyacinths (bottom left) smell absolutely amazing, and are the perfect gift for the gardener in your life.

The amaryllis (top), meanwhile, will stun you with their long stalk and huge blooms.

Finally, they aren't bulbs, but we also have some Christmas roses or Helleborus (bottom right) which can be kept indoors this winter while they're in bloom and then transplanted in the spring as an outdoor plant.

With a little bit of mulch, these Christmas roses will overwinter just fine for years to come!

Come visit us soon and get some indoor blooms for your home!