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Most people, when they first meet Debbie Van Bourgondien, come away feeling energized, motivated, and ready to take on the whole gardening world… or at least their little corner of it. Debbie has that effect on people. She's as close to a gardening evangelist as you can get. Whether participating in her workshops, chatting in line at the grocery store, or just a chance encounter on the street Debbie is always ready to make a new friend and share her passion for gardens and plants.
The Bulb Lady wasn't always a garden enthusiast, when she was a youngster her least favorite chore was weeding the garden. But things change and a beautifully gardened yard quickly became her peaceful haven where creativity reigns supreme. The only constant in Debbie's garden is that it is always changing.
While the word "failure" doesn't exist in her vocabulary (the plant grew or it didn't; an enriching experience either way), garden successes abound for Debbie. It's funny to think that a woman with the botanical world at her fingertips would find such delight in seemingly little accomplishments. The first blooms of the tricky Himalayan Blue Poppy were greeted with child-like glee and wonderment. The appearance of a delicate trillium in her shade garden was celebrated with a dinner party for family and friends. Debbie's never met a plant she doesn't like (except for weeds), and thrives on the chance to grow the newest cultivars alongside her longtime favorites.
Guests of Van Bourgondiens cannot escape a tour of the gardens, but who would want to? Fifty thousand Tulips and Daffodils are planted every fall and smother her spring garden in a riot of color. While hybrids and cultivars may change from year to year, the Daffodil 'Bulblady' will always make an appearance. Sun is a precious commodity in her shady landscape, but wherever it can be found there are Peonies and Lilacs in full glory. In the summertime sunny spots host Lilacs, Cannas, and Dahlias, her favorite. Debbie's shady garden beds are filled to capacity with Caladiums of every sort.
Debbie claims to enjoy relaxing in her garden with a cup of coffee or glass of wine. But it's hard to imagine this bundle of gardening energy slowing down long enough to sip a Chardonnay without splashing it while reaching to pull a missed weed or spent flower. Garden benches are just for looks; The Bulb Lady is much too busy planting, pruning, or primping flowers in the garden to sit still for long.
Debbie adores watching her granddaughters feed the koi in her garden pond. The three little girls aren't particularly interested in gardening just yet, but she's certain they'll be bitten by the garden bug soon. Her three sons didn't like to garden as boys either, and now they each have lovely gardens of their own. There's no doubt that they couldn't be luckier or have a better gardening mentor than their own mother, The Bulb Lady.