Chris Wiesinger developed a passion for heirloom bulbs, especially those from the South, while attending Texas A&M University-College Station, where earned distinction as the Texas A&M Robert H. Rucker Outstanding Senior in Floriculture.
He was a member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets from fall 2000 to spring 2004, serving as commanding officer of Company C-2 from spring 2003 to spring 2004, a task which included overseeing and directing 57 cadets on a daily basis.
In spring 2003, he also was one of 10 students selected for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Congressional Internship Program offered through A&M College of Agriculture. During the internship in Washington, D.C., Wiesinger served in the Agriculture Marketing Service under administrator A.J. Yates, attending AMS personnel meetings where regulations, rules and economic cost/benefit analysises were developed.
In fall 2003, he came up with the concept, sought funding, began marketing and started the Southern Bulb Co., a business which allowed him to turn his passion for bulbs into a successful business.
Wiesinger obtained his bachelor of science in horticulture from Texas A&M University-College Station in May 2004 and continues to serve as president and owner of the Southern Bulb Co.
In April 2005, he was named one of House and Garden magazine’s “Top 50 Tastemakers.”
In 2006, he gained the national spotlight when the New York Times featured Wiesinger, and has been known since as “The Bulb Hunter.”
“Wiesinger makes a living finding pretty things in ravaged places. ... He started the Southern Bulb Company with the aim of reintroducing flowers long out of vogue, committing himself exclusively to those that have ably asserted themselves against the particular cruelties of exceedingly hot weather for decades, even centuries,” the July, 6 2006 NY Times feature stated.
“What started as a personal passion and college project turned into a lifestyle and profitable business. In addition to running his business, he has gained attention for his motivational, educational and entertaining speeches on the challenges of small business life and the passion of reclaiming heirloom flower bulbs that had once fallen out of fashion and off the market,” Rebecca Wiesinger noted in an email.
Southern Bulb has since secured contracts with Lowe’s Companies, HEB Grocery and other chain companies, Wiesinger noted in a press release.
In March 2008, he was featured in Southern Living Magazine.
Wiesinger has two books to his credit, “Heirloom Bulbs for Today” which was published in Fall 2010 by Bright Sky Press and “The Bulb Hunter” which was published in fall 2011 by Texas A&M University Press.
He has spoken to more than 100 garden clubs and groups located all over the country, like the Bright Star Garden Club which will host Wiesinger at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, at Sulphur Springs Public Library.
Wiesinger will present “The Bulb Hunter: A story of seeking out botanical treasures,” May 6 in Sulphur Springs. He will tell how his bulb collecting adventures turned into a life altering quest, searching for heirloom bulbs across the South. He’ll share stories he’s collected from “beautiful forgotten places,” convey horticulture knowledge of bulbs and offer ideas and examples for using bulbs in landscape.
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