Master Gardeners welcome gardening expertPublished 12:05am Wednesday, August 28, 2013
The bulb hunter’s interest in flowers began with a rock in a box.
Chris Wiesinger, also known as the bulb hunter, runs Texas-based Southern Bulb Company.
Wiesinger’s work places him in fields, growing and propagating flowers that bloom from bulbs, such as the spider lily, that he sells through the company.
Wiesinger will share his passion for plants and flower bulbs at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at Jefferson Street United Methodist Church during a Master Gardener’s district meeting. The meeting is open to the public.
Master Gardener Karen Dardick said Wiesinger will talk about how to add beauty to a garden by adding a flower that blooms from a bulb.
Wiesinger said he spends most of his time at speaking engagements, answering e-mails and educating people about gardening, but it wasn’t always that way.
He once led a more adventurous, romantic lifestyle that began when he found a box of bulbs at a garden center in Texas.
“I reached in this box full of round shaped objects and pulled one out,” he said. “I bought one of what I thought was a rock and planted it in our garden. A short time later, a beautiful flower had bloomed from the bulb.”
Wiesinger said he continued to tend to the small, family garden until deciding to explore his interest further as a horticulture major at Texas A&M.
His major required him to draft a business plan during his senior year for a horticulture-related business, resulting in The Southern Bulb Company.
But Wiesinger’s business plan didn’t place him in an office building.
Instead, Wiesinger traveled throughout the South looking for flowers that bloom from bulbs.
He dug up heirloom bulbs — flowers that are old and seldom found in the wild — and began to develop a collection of plants.
“It’s was just me, my truck and my dog,” he said. “I felt like a 19th century artist. I would travel around and people would welcome me into their homes and support me.”
When he wasn’t traveling, Wiesinger lived in a small cabin on a sweet potato farm.
“I feel like I chose a divergent path,” Wiesinger said. “While all my other friends were choosing their careers, I was digging up bulbs. It gave me time to think.”
After living in the cabin for nearly 10 years, he began to focus on the business side of The Southern Bulb Company.
Wiesinger said he misses being able to roam the country, but enjoys teaching others about his craft.
As a result of his many speaking engagements, Wiesinger developed several rules for aspiring bulb hunters to follow.
“You can’t go into anyone’s yard and dig up their flowers,” he said. “There is a certain way to go about it.”
His rules include:
• Ask for permission before going onto someone’s property.
• Don’t dig up the entire plant. In some cases, the bulb is enough.
• Throw a few bulbs back after digging up flowers.
• Fill all holes back in.