Bulbs represent one of the least-expensive ways to add color to your landscape. Daffodils, for example, can be had for 50 cents each, will provide years of enjoyment and increase in
number, or "naturalize," when happy. Since the days have cooled off in much of the country, but the ground is still relatively warm, we are in prime bulb-planting time. Bulbs planted now will get right to work establishing their root systems. I've planted thousands of them over the years, and here are some basics based on that experience.
1. Good soil counts. Take the time to prepare the bed where you are going to be planting. Good drainage is particularly important, as most bulbs like it on the dry side during their period of dormancy.
2. A general rule for planting depth is that it should be three times a bulb's diameter. So a tulip bulb two inches across should be planted
six inches deep.
3. Don't be afraid to make bulb "sandwiches." More than one type of bulb can share a planting hole. Put the largest on the bottom, sprinkle on a little soil, add a smaller bulb, sprinkle on a little more, and finish up with a small bulb on top with just a couple of inches of soil over that.
4. Generally speaking, plant the pointy side of the bulb facing up. Sometimes this can be difficult to figure out, in which case plant the bulb on its side and it will actually right itself.
5. Don't fertilize when you plant. This may contradict advice you have read, but I've never done it. Using a product like bone meal in the planting hole can attract critters that will then feast on the bulbs. Instead, apply a good slow-release fertilizer as the foliage starts to appear in the spring. And a twice-yearly top-dressing with compost wouldn't hurt either.
6. But do water when you plant, just as you would something that came in a pot. And in the spring, if you don't get those April showers.
7. More is more. Don't skimp on the number of bulbs you buy. A dozen crocus will go almost unnoticed but a hundred will make a statement.
8. This is not a planting tip, but resist all temptation, after the blooming season, to braid, tie up or cut the bulb's foliage until it begins to turn yellow and flops over. Then it is safe to cut it off. Doing anything else beforehand will impinge on the plant's ability to photosynthesize, which is crucial to the formations of the next season's blooms.
The photos are from companies I have ordered from over the years and can recommend based on my experience. I've included links to their web sites in the captions.
Whether you are a garden novice or a veteran gardener, you may be aware of the sad fact that our shade garden annual favorite is being denied life by the nasty downy mildew that spreads
all across our nation now. Even if you save your own Impatien seed and keep other garden center plants away from your carefully and lovingly tended imps, you are still vulnerable as this is an airborn pathogen that will stay in your soil from one season to the next. It starts on the underside of the plant where you don't always see it. You won't notice until the leaves turn yellow and fall off, the plant withering and dying. There is nothing as of yet that effectively will combat the virulent attack.
This is my list of alternatives to the dilemma of what to plant to give that same heavenly splash of color in the shade garden.
My top picks are
1) Begonia , green wax leaf, tuberous , angel and dragon wing
4) New guinea impatien
8) Shade coleus
10) Euphorbia 'diamond frost'
15) Fan Flower(Scaevola)
There are a bunch more that will take part shade such as Nicotiana, Salvia, and Sweet Williams.
I will miss the sweet sweet impatien, but while the experts search for a cure, it gives us all the opportunity to step out of our garden box and into the wild new territory of DIFFERENT and awesome plants that will put a smile on our garden faces.#itchingforspring
A year ago I converted my son's old bedroom into a home office. It's become a haven, a place where I blog full time, sew, craft and relax. The office took a little over a year to really
complete. I tend to be a slow decorator, only buying pieces I really love for a space. Check out the full transformation from Bedroom to Home Office in this post at Between Naps on the Porch: http://bit.ly/QGdez6