April 25, 2012

DIY Gardening with Mr. C.

You can have a colorful flower garden all season by combining spring, summer, and fall bulbs. If you have hardy spring bulbs (which remain in the ground over the winter) like daffodils, tulips, etc, they will soon lose their blossoms. You can remove any faded blooms, but leave the greenery until they dry up in the fall. The leaves will convert the sun's energy over the summer into food for the bulbs.

Now is the time to plant tender summer/fall blooming bulbs. I have gladiolus (which are not a true bulb but a "corm" - never too old to learn something new) that I took up last fall and stored over the winter in my cellar (a fairly cool dry place). My attic also stays cool and does not freeze (but the mice always find their way in). Before replanting, I separate any that doubled or grew "babies" (which won't bloom till next year). I selected a spot (where Johnny-Jump-Ups grow) that was already cultivated that needed only to have the buried rocks removed (they seem to grow over the winter). You can see the rocks are temporarily piled on the stump in the picture below. Next I used the green long handled bulb planter to make 4 inch deep holes. That is deep enough for the small (an inch to inch and one half) to insure they won't emerge until frost danger is past. It has a lever which opens the bottom to release the dirt. If any of the hole sides fall in, I used the long handled trowel to clean out the hole. Both are shown below (do you see a pattern here with long handles?). Also see a bottle of natural Deer & Rabbit repellent which contains garlic, rotten eggs, etc, that is available in several sizes at Agway. I bought it originally to keep the squirrels from digging up my tulip bulbs. I sprayed some on the glads after I dropped them (root side down) into the holes. I put a small amount of compost into each hole (in lieu of mixing it into the whole bed) before covering the bulbs. Because we were expecting ample rain (to start them growing) I skipped watering them. To view an excellent Lowe's video on spring and summer bulb planting,  click here.  If you watch it through, it suggests a video on raised beds. For even more info about planting and storing bulbs, click here.

                                                                        Planting Gladiolus  

If you have peonies, iris, hostas, etc. (like I do), hopefully you cleared away last years stalks. If not, do it now, being careful to avoid damaging the new shoots. Also consider putting up support fencing now before your peonies get too large, and definitely before they develop their heavy blooms (which would otherwise cause them to droop to the ground). I use a 2 foot high green fence (which is almost invisible in the picture below) for part of mine and two shortened tomato cages for a small group to the right of the tree. The tree came up unnoticed in the bed about 40 years ago (but is vary noticeable now).


Take time out to smell the flowers - Mr. C.