Category Archives: Grape Hyacinths

The Many Sides of Rain

Spring rain

Has always been a blessing

To gardens

To the soul.

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After decades of gardening

And listening to thunderstorms

Move through the countryside

Just this morning

I realized

Another side of spring rain.

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It rained last night.

Most of the night I think.

So we woke up

To an emerald green world

On a cloudy Sunday morning.

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Any good gardener knows

After a good rain

It’s important when you walk through

Your garden.

To stay on the path

To keep from compacting the soggy soil.

Rain also means

That you won’t get to do much digging

For a day or two.

The result is that

Rain slows me down.

It focuses me on the beauty of the garden.

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Not the “to do” list

In my head.

Rain washes away the clutter

In my mind

So I can see.

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Really see.

Enjoy!

Gail

 

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Filed under Chive Blossom, Columbine, Grape Hyacinths, Hosta, Rain, spring, Uncategorized

FAITH

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It happens every year.

When I finally get winter’s blanket of leaves removed

I wonder where everything has gone.

Sure the early blooming show offs are visible

The Iris and Peonies.

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And Larkspur sprouts are everywhere.

But right now I’m wondering why is there so much dirt showing.

And what is lying in wait beneath?

My friend Suellen used to call every spring

To tell me that everything had died over the winter.

Then…she’d call back in a week

Saying it’s OK.

And we would have a good laugh

Remembering the same conversation from the year before.

Faith

It’s as important to gardening as fertilizer, healthy soil and water.

It’s the belief that a tiny green frond

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Will unfurl into a gorgeous fern.

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That the precious buds on my Japanese Tree Peony

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Will soon take my breath away.

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That come June

These few leaves at the bottom of what looks like a stick plant

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Will give astonishing blooms.

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The robins have returned.

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Lady bugs and honey bees abound

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Peg is on her never-ending bunny search

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And the Hellebores are blooming their hearts out.

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It must be spring.

Faith

All we need to do is trust

And believe.

And as my friend Jerry used to say

Do the best we can…

God will take care of the rest.

Take time to breathe it all in.

Gail

 

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Filed under Bugs, Ferns, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Lady Bugs, Larkspur, Peonies, Perennials, Redbud Trees, Violets

BULB PLANTING TIME

It’s the time of the year when I begin my frost dance.

Or should I say “threat” of frost dance.

You know the routine.

The first few nights you just throw a sheet or towel over a few tender plants

Then you drag most of the ferns in to the warmth.

After a few more sunny days

It happens again.

Freeze warnings

You begin to take them seriously.

You start picking things.

Almost ripe tomatoes

Not quite mature peppers.

Then the freeze frenzy really sets in.

One cold windy morning you yank every green tomato off the vine.

Cut cockscomb to the ground.

 Whack away at armloads of roses and zinnias

Dig up baby basil plants for your winter supply.

Then lie in wait for mother nature to kill everything you’ve nurtured all year.

After several nights of freeze warnings

It finally happens.

The first hard freeze.

The killing freeze.

With the end of one season

Another begins.

So now it’s time to plant…….

Spring Flowering Bulbs!!!

Even though I won’t actually plant my bulbs till later in the month.

I thought I’d send along this primer.

Here’s what I know about planting bulbs.

As with all of gardening the health and size of the bulb will determine the quality of bloom.

So look for big bulbs that are firm.

Make sure there is no mold present

Soft moldy bulbs will only turn into compost not flowers.

Tulip bulbs should still have their brown “skin” attached.

We talked about bulbs a bit in August in two prior blogs.

Planning Time and Planting Hope

So lets cover how to plant all this stuff.

First – find a gardening friend

Make a pact to help each other plant bulbs.

This friend may be a spouse, a child, a sibling, a neighbor

Or if you’re lucky you have a Megan.

Megan has helped me plant bulbs for well…

I don’t remember how long.

We use the “lasagna” method. 

It saves labor

And makes for glorious blasts of color.

Which means you never….never….never

Plant in rows.

Instead if you want to line an edge

Dig a series of oval holes.

Good sized holes

Because you will put a minimum 7 daffodils and 11 tulips in each hole

Dig the hole 6 ” –  8″ deep.

Mix in a little Bone Meal

Place the daffodils pointy end up

(That is very important !)

Make sure they don’t touch – or they will rot!

Use odd numbers 7 – 9 – 11.

Cover with a few inches of soil

Add a bit more Bone Meal

Then place Tulips

Again pointy end up.

To get a good show use at least 11 tulips or more.

Then repeat soil and Bone Meal

Top off with Dutch Iris.

Then refill to ground level.

Actually a little higher since it will settle when you water it all in.

And do water it all in

The water will fill up the air pockets in the soil

This will keep it from freezing when it’s first planted.

If you’re really energetic or inspired you can cover it all with pansies.

Now….that’s a blast of spring!

We do a series of these “lasagna Holes” on each side of the path

Leading to my garden house.

This forms a full border that doesn’t look contrived.

You’ll notice that the biggest bulbs need to be buried the deepest.

So you plant from large to small bulbs with this method.

Lilies can be planted 3 – 5 to a hole

Or…you can dig a winding trench

Place the bulbs in a zig zag pattern along the trench.

I generally don’t plant anything else with them.

So…that’s pretty much how we do it here.

It’s a tried and true method you may want to try.

Or not.

After all gardening is personal.

We learn from each other.

We adapt to our own garden.

We create.

We wait.

Gail

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Filed under Basil, cockscomb, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Ferns, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Grape Hyacinths, Green Tomatoes, Oriental Lilies, Peppers, roses, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Tomato, tulips, Uncategorized, Zinnia

PLANTING HOPE

Last week we talked tulips

Glorious tulips

Now lets see what else we can find to bury this fall.

Daffodils are just about the happiest flower there is.

They will often begin poking their noses out of the ground  before Christmas.

Some years they even bloom by Valentines – more often in early March.

My favorite is a solid yellow called King Alfred.

It’s the traditional large cupped solid yellow.

There are hundreds of varieties, but I must confess to only planting this one kind.

Don’t let that stop you from finding your own favorite.

Daffodils are more perennial than tulips.

King Alfred edging the garden in late winter

Which is good since they cost more.

Another standard for me is Dutch Iris. 

You might recognize them as a standard in florist bouquets.

Dutch Iris "Delft Blue"

They are a smaller bulb, don’t require much space and easy to plant.

One of my real favorites is the tiny bulb and bloom of the Grape Hyacinths.

They bloom early and long. 

They are wonderful at edges.

I’ve lined much of the path of my garden with them.

Grape Hyacinths along the brick path

I’ve also scattered them on my one little “hill” and let them roll down to the edge.

Grape Hyacinths and vinca minor on the "hill".

And best of all they are pretty cheap!

The other bulbs I order this time of year are lilies.

Asiatic, Oriental and Trumpet

I love them all.

This year I’ve found a semi-shady place to add lots of Oriental lilies.

So I’m buying a mix of pinks and creams and whites.

Stargazer - a staple Oriental Lily

Mixes generally save you a little money, but you don’t get to pick the colors.

I’m also adding Oriental Lily Golden Star to the yellow Orientals I all ready have.

I’ve also found Trumpet Lily African Queen.

I saw this melon colored beauty in a magazine and tracked it down.

Now…no bulb order would be complete without Amaryllis.

You will know them as the fantastic flowers forced into bloom at Christmas.

My favorite is the  Hybrid Dutch Amaryllis.

The pink and white Apple Blossom is glorious.

Apple Blossom Amaryllis

A fairly new Black Pearl is a most dramatic dark red.

Black Pearly Amaryllis

Actually, there isn’t a bad color of Amaryllis.

They are monster bulbs fitting snuggly into a 6 ” pot.

Forcing Amaryllis for Christmas in the garden house.

OK

Where do these bulbs come from?

How many do you order?

How do you know a good bulb?

How do you plant all of this stuff?

We’ll save the last question till time to plant.

Which for me is in November.

Suffice it to say it’s good to have friends in November.

Let’s tackle the rest.

Where to get bulbs?

You’ll find them at garden centers, nurseries and stores that add seasonal greenhouses.

Along with all kinds of catalogs and websites.

I find them well…everywhere.

I will tell you though I don’t like the pre-packaged bags of bulbs.

Though my friend Debra literally grabbed a bunch of these last fall

Through them into the ground.

And had glorious bulbs.

But, I like to pick out each one to make sure that it is firm, has no sign of mold, and most importantly, big.

The bigger the bulb the bigger the bloom.

It’s just that simple.

Though I do my best to support local merchants I do have to confess to being a little picky about the colors I want.

So for that reason I do order from catalogs.

My long time favorite is a company called k. van Bourgondien.

I have found their selection to be very good – to the point it takes me a week to figure it all out.

I also think their quality is excellent and reliable.

Their prices are fair.

As for quantities.

Well…this is my weak point

I always over buy

But I always get them planted

With Megan’s help.

Here are a few guidelines

But remember – it’s just my own opinion

Which is worth exactly what you are paying for it here in the blogosphere!

With the exception of grape hyacinths and other tiny bulbs I never plant in rows.

I dig  – rather Megan digs – big oval-shaped holes.

In them we plant odd numbers of bulbs

Daffodils & Dutch Iris – 5 or 7 or 9

Tulips  – 9 or 11 or 15

Lily bulbs are bigger and need a bit more space 3 or 5 per hole.

So…that gives you a guideline.

You can measure and multiply and see how much trouble you can get into.

We’ll cover more planting information come fall.

OK

This should get you in over your head.

But come spring you’ll be so glad you took the time to plan ahead

I think of it as planting hope!

Gail

Hope !

 

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Filed under Amaryllis, Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Grape Hyacinths, Oriental Lilies, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips