Showcasing Sternbergia

Sternbergia just beginning to open up.

“What *is* that yellow flower??????”

This delightful little ray of sunshine is one of my favorite parts about Fall. The garden colors are warm and earthy, which creates a nice backdrop for Fall Bulbs, which signal the change of seasons. The cooler weather is also beginning to wake up many varieties of Spring flowering Heirloom Bulbs. My eyes are continually glued to the ground, seeking out bulbs that have survived the horrific summer temperatures and drought. So far, I haven’t lost any bulbs, (except my Daylilies which the gophers annihilated over the summer. Daylilies are not technically a “bulb”, but I lump them in the bulb category.) Sternbergia is similar to the Oxblood Lily in toughness and vigor. Even in the driest of conditions, these heirloom beauties pulled through the drought like champs,, happily blooming with the cooler weather of Fall.

Sternbergia, commonly known as the Fall Crocus, blooms (typically) a few weeks after the Oxblood Lily and the Spider Lily. I won’t try to impress you with my vast knowledge of the Latin Botanical names. I’d most likely spell the Latin names wrong anyhow. Regardless, I prefer the common names to these old flower bulbs. I’m quite sure the early immigrants of the 1800s who brought the Oxblood Lily over from Germany didn’t use the proper name. In fact, in many rural communities, Oxblood Lilies are still known as Schoolhouse Lilies among the old time gardeners, due to the fact that the bulbs bloomed around the beginning of school.

Sternbergia is a lovely addition to a Southern Bulb garden. The foliage is thick and strappy. The bulbs are hardy and multiply readily. Many of my Sternbergia bulbs accidentally were forgotten after digging and relocating them after the flood. The bulbs remained unplanted for over a year. Lo and behold, I stuck them in the ground with a nice drink and the bulbs flowered a generous “thank you” a few days later. Ofcourse, I wouldn’t make the practice of accidentally leaving your flower bulbs unattended for an entire year a habit….but it happens to all of us 🙂

I have been enjoying the continual “move a flower bulb every day” philosophy…..there are always new places in my garden that need a bulb. Last week, I started digging up randomly placed Oxblood Lilies and lining the new Cactus garden (more about that later). I also have moved no fewer than 300 Spider Lilies from the front “all you can eat” deer-buffet garden. The bulbs are much safer in the back gardens, (though if a deer really wants to eat something, he will find a way.) I also need to relocate a massive amount of Sternbergia. After the bulb exodus from the flooded house, most of the bulbs were dumped in random places of empty spaces in my studio gardens. I am now having fun sorting through all the bulbs…..Like I said, I live by the “move a bulb a day” philosophy. . It keeps life interesting and good ‘ol garden soil under the fingernails. 🙂

I’m going to drive back the flooded house in a few minutes. I need to check if any random bulbs have appeared after the recent rains. Don’t tell my mother……

The Agape Haus Studioa and Garden is now an official LLC. The gardens should be open to the public come Springtime….though I am always happy to take you through the gardens if you are in town, or if you’d like more informationon any of the Heirloom Bulbs I grow. I’m always happy to share. Simply email

Happy Gardening, my friends!