Category Archives: Spring Flowering Bulbs

MEGAN

A couple of decades ago my job was designing, installing and maintaining perennial flower garden

All around town.

It was fun and very hard work.

During the summer maintenance season

I would hire daughters of friends to help me.

Megan, Cristina and Ashley outlasted them all.

For instance Megan’s sister Katie told me at the end of the first…and only summer for her.

“This has been fun, but I don’t ever want to do this again.”

But it was Megan who just kept coming back.

She worked from Jr. High through High School.

Then in college she would come back each fall to help me plant bulbs.

Even post college she was there for me digging trenches

And burying bulbs.

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We’ve had great conversations

That have matured with each year.

We often talked about the garden party I would have for her.

When she married.

Last fall when Megan came for our bulb planting ritual

There was only one subject of conversation

JP

So it was no surprise that at Christmas Megan and JP were engaged.

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After years of dreaming about Megan’s wedding and parties

The planning began.

What’s that saying about making plans.

“If you want to make God laugh…tell him your plans.”

Well God must have doubled over with laughter at this one.

Because JP is in the Navy

Scheduling of everything was on Navy time.

In this instance that means fast.

A mid-April wedding was planned not at home

But in Corpus Christi where JP was stationed.

No problem…if there’s anything Megan loves as much as JP and gardens

Its’ the beach

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But there was only time and space for family and a few close friends.

No problem…we’ll have a reception here

In my garden

Just like we planned

Sometime in Mid-May when all is happily blooming!

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Well…maybe not.

JP and Megan have to be in their new destination by May 6th.

OK we’re flexible

May 2nd it will be.

A simple ice cream social with wedding cakes

Friends and family in attendance for the perfect send off.

Well…maybe not.

The morning of May 2nd brought

Sleet

Rain

Clouds

30 mile an hour north winds

With gusts to 40

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OK God I get the idea.

Thankfully for once I half way believed

Our over zealous weather forecaster

And cut every tulip that was blooming

The Saturday before the party.

They spent the week in the safety of my spare refrigerator.

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And the day before the party Kay – Megan’s mother suggested

“We might want to go ahead and cut whatever else we need.”

So we cut buckets of Boxwood and Viburnum

And even cut a few Lilacs from Kelly’s yard.

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We simply brought the garden indoors.

Now there’s no doubt that I was disappointed

That I couldn’t give Megan the garden party of her dreams.

But here’s the thing.

When Thursday night came.

Megan and JP were beaming

Friends who have watched her grow up

Family who loved her from the moment they knew she was coming into this world.

All of us were there

Eating gelato and wedding cake.

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And sending Megan & JP out into the world

Knowing that they are deeply loved.

That they are rooted and grounded in this place with these people.

As my sister Pat said at Elliott & Kristina’s wedding.

“We have loved giving you roots and wings

It is the greatest satisfaction of our lives.

Know that we celebrate with you as you join hands,

Spread your wings and fly.”

Here’s to a happy life Megan

And gardening all over the world.

All my love,

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Bridal Showers, Flower Arrangements, Garden House, Gardening, Gardening Friends, Gardening;Perennials, Perennials, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Wedding Flowers

TULIP TIMING

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For years I’ve planted tulips along the path to my garden house.

I’ve chosen to cluster them all there

Rather than dotting them around the garden

The effect is quite good.

Even dramatic in a good year.

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I’ve also hosted many spring parties in my garden

But I’ve never gotten the two events coordinated.

Until this year.

Back in January we began planning a bridal shower for my friend Gay’s daughter.

The best day was last Saturday, April 20th.

Gay asked if my tulips would still be blooming.

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No chance I replied.

I’ve never known tulips to last that long.

Now this is the latest and coolest spring I can remember.

In fact, there is yet another freeze predicted for next week.

So the tulips began to bloom.

And bloom and bloom.

They have lived through no less than 4 overnight freezes

Including one complete with ICE!

They’ve just kept on keeping on.

Flushed with sunlight

And backed with still blooming Redbud trees.

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Ali and Friends

Yesterday they really strutted their stuff.

Which only means one thing.

I want to plant more next year!

Gail

PS:  Hopefully after the final “last freeze” next week we’ll get to really dig in and start gardening!

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Filed under Bridal Showers, Garden House, Redbud Trees, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Timing, tulips, Uncategorized

“PERFECT” GARDENING DAYS

I’ve never been a fan of the word perfect.

After all I grew up on a farm

Where nothing is ever perfect.

I did marry an attorney

Whose job it is to be perfect

God has such a sense of humor!

I try not to use that word.

But there are times when it truly does apply.

This weekend turned out to be full of “perfect” gardening days.

Which is surprising since last Wednesday we had an ice storm

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Featuring frozen Tulips

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And Redbud trees.

So when yesterday dawned cool and cloudy

I was ready to garden.

As you may recall last fall we opened a new client choice food pantry

For hungry people in this part of the state.

We serve over 800 individuals and families each month.

And we are working hard to provide them with healthy food choices.

So naturally we decided we’d grow some of that food.

A generous soul named Michael has worked tirelessly to organize this project.

A month ago 10 raised beds were built.

And yesterday morning we planted them.

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With plants and seeds donated from Atwoods.

And the help of volunteers from Chisholm Schools.

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In 3 hours we planted 10 raised beds.

Stuffed them full of early season veggies and greens.

What a gift!

The day continued with…what else…a nap!

Nothing better than napping on a sunny spring afternoon.

Then I began to work on the roses that I have so ignored all spring.

Each rose got a good drink of water laced with 1/4 cup of Epsom salts.

They gulped it right up.

Next I finally got around to cutting away the dead

And tying New Dawn to the fence

It gets a bit unruly from time to time.

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A couple of quick flower arrangement for Sunday’s church services

And the day was done.

This afternoon was less focused.

Just piddling around

Trimmed the hedges outside the kitchen window

Pulled more of that @#$#@ poa anna grass

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Before it goes to seed.

Planted a flat of alyssum

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The one spring annual that can withstand

Next week’s promised last freeze

Then spent a few minutes sitting among the tulips

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They are like children.

When you bend down to their height

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You enjoy them so much more.

An unexpected clap of thunder

Brought a soft brief spring shower.

God watered everything in.

It was a “perfect” gardening weekend!

Gail

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Filed under Alyssum, Bouquets, Dead Heading, Flower Arrangements, Gardening, Hunger, Redbud Trees, roses, Seeds, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Vegetables

Garden Travels

It’s finally here…Spring!

Officially on Wednesday.

It’s just a bit soon here to begin digging.

You can start cutting back all that brown dead stuff

And racking back that protective coat of leaves.

But instead of standing at the window

Staring into the backyard

Wringing my clean hands

I’ve been lucky this past month

And gotten to visit not one,

But two glorious botanical gardens.

About 3 weeks ago Virginia, Debra and I

Spent an afternoon at the Desert Botanical Garden.

I’m not really a desert person – Virginia is

It was after all a garden, so I was happy to tag along.

So glad I did.

There was a bit of Chihuly glass.

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If you don’t know Chihuly glass

Get to know it

It’s art…beyond belief.

Butterflies were another draw for me.

A butterfly pavilion had been added for the next few months.

Being in a small enclosed space with hundred of butterflies.

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Or…flutterbyes as I like to call them.

Is…well…like having God doing a fly by.

Really low!

Now, I’m not someone who travels a great deal.

Quite the opposite.

I love being home.

Somehow just two weeks later John and I were heading to Dallas

It was warm and sunny while we were there.

Yesterday on our way out of town we visited Dallas Blooms.

And bloom it does!

The Dallas Arboretum was lit up with no less than

500,00 spring flowering bulbs.

Bed after bed of daffodils and tulips.

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Underplanted with violas of every combination.

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Pots of Ranunculus

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Shouting “It’s Spring”

Planter boxes with the tallest ornamental cabbage known to man.

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We were in Texas after all

Brides taking their wedding portraits amongst the glory of it all.

And many princesses complete with crowns, gowns and velvet couches!

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There’s a tradition there I need to explore.

Then there were these two darling boys.

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Who I was certain had found a lady bug

or caterpillar

or some wonder of nature

Because they had turned their backs on this breathtaking beauty.

Look closely

It’s an iPad!

Somehow I kept from screaming at them.

It’s starting here.

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Hellebores are always first.

Patches of daffodils are beginning to bloom

Next will come forsythia and flowering pear trees

Then the big parade begins

I can’t wait

I’m just grateful for such a splendid preview.

Take in a little spring this week.

Gail

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Filed under Butterflies, Daffodils, Forsythia, Hellebores, Ornamental Cabbage, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Viola

YUMMY SPRING

 

 

I love the progression of Spring.

Each week brings some new spectacular blooms

The colors are so bright – so clear.

A neighbor's "Tulip Drive"

The weather allows me to spend hours in the garden

Soaking it all in.

Nothing renews me like the slow progression

of my garden emerging from the earth

or the cracks in the patio bricks.

Slow progression.

Not this year.

It’s as if John Phillip Sousa has come back to town

and is conducting a fast march through the season.

I was planning on writing about a single plant this week

Wisteria

Early in the week I was drooling over my wisteria.

Driving around town taking pictures of wisteria all over town.

Gay discovered this one in our neighborhood.

It’s at least 30 feet high and has attached itself to a tree row between 2 houses.

Then Debra’s gift of  OSU tulips began to open as a nice buttery yellow

and ended the week a great orange.

Next the Parrot Tulip Blumex began to open

and open.

I can’t stop taking pictures of them.

It’s all happening way to fast.

After all it’s only the 31st of March.

Roses are budding

actually the first bloomed TODAY!

Iris are also on the fast track with lots of buds popping up.

But the most breathtaking gift of the day is my

Japanese Tree Peony

You may remember it from last year.

Bought it at least 10 years ago.

Tiny, expensive root it was.

Transplanted to two different gardens.

Accidentally sliced it in half at one point.

Waited patiently – most of the time.

This year it has 14 giant buds.

They open at night

So on a spring morning I am surprised .

This morning I was as my mother would say “flabbergasted”

SIX blooms the size of my hand

Absolutely yummy.

Since it’s so very warm I’ve put my green market umbrella over it

To give it shade.

Because the blooms don’t last long.

So…if you want  to bask in its glory.

Better come tomorrow!

Gail

 

 

 

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Filed under Iris, Japanese Tree Peony, Parrot Tulips, roses, spring, Spring Flowering Bulbs, tulips, Uncategorized, Wisteria

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

BLOOM WHERE YOU’RE PLANTED

For years I’ve drooled over pictures of homes in the south.

All those gloriously tall trees

Dripping with Spanish Moss.

It all seems so romantic

So splendid.

John & I have talked about a trip to Charleston for a long time.

So when this summer failed to produce a vacation.

We decided to do something completely out of character for us.

A September trip.

John did his usual research and before we knew it we were off to Charleston.

And since we had met a man from Beaufort, S. C. on our “urban sailing vacation” a few years back.

We decided to visit his beloved hometown.

The fact that John’s favorite author Pat Conroy resides there only sweetened the deal.

And then as if that wasn’t enough we learned that the Charleston Preservation Society was having their fall home and garden tour.

It was meant to be.

So off we flew to Charleston.

Now…I ‘m sure you are thinking that the pictures of Charleston will begin here.

And they should.

But I didn’t take any.

Weird, but somehow after all that dreaming we just didn’t click.

So…we decided to move on  to Savannah.

Savannah is built on a grid

The planner a Mr. Oglethorpe (I think) wisely included 24 “squares” in the plan

22 survive today.

They would now be known as “green spaces”

What a forward thinker.

Most have a statue

All have enormous old live oak trees.

Dripping with moss.

Now I expected some sort of Southern Living gardening extravaganza of color.

Wrong.

I kept looking for banks of glorious Hydrangea

Color filled cutting gardens.

OK

What’s going on here.

A few pots here and there but really…no color.

Then it hit me.

The thing about all those glorious old trees is

Shade.

They create shade

Lots and lots of shade.

The kind of shade that only allows green to grow.

Moss, ferns, hostas, boxwood.

And oh how green it is.

The humidity hovered around 95% our entire trip

Afternoon showers came almost daily.

So what was needed here was a paradigm shift.

What I came to see simply doesn’t exist here.

Time to start admiring green

And foliage.

And small “secret gardens”

And the seashells poured into the roads centuries ago.

It’s that “seeing thing” again.

If we look we will see.

And appreciate.

And then there were the houses of Beaufort.

We saw them all.

Courtesy of a charming young guide named Carly.

She’s passionate about history.

We walked the town with her for 2 1/2 hours listening to her slow southern drawl.

She told us how Beaufort was founded in 1711 so that makes it 300 years old this year.

The town decided to identify all the trees that have been there from the beginning.

300 year old trees – imagine.

As you can see they are beyond description

They call them Birthday Trees.

I like that.

Then there were the homes.

Old gracious homes.

As it turns out one of these homes we have known for some time.

It’s the house where my favorite movie “The Big Chill” was filmed.

But before that it was also the home in “The Great Santini”. 

The book that got John hooked on  Pat Conroy’s writing.

So what is the lesson in all of this for me.

It is that simple saying

“Bloom where you’re planted.”

I’ve admired these old homes and their charms for years.

As it turns out they are gorgeous.

But they are really old.

Which means lots of work.

And the giant trees that surround them

Equally amazing

But giant trees create endless shade.

So though I consider myself contented.

I am even more so

After all

My garden has sun and shade.

We have a 9 month growing season here.

Which gives me days and days in the garden.

Then just when I wear completely out.

The freeze comes.

And with it needed rest.

So perhaps we are where we are supposed to be.

Or…maybe we adjust to where we land.

It’s really up to each of us

To choose to bloom.

Gail

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Filed under Ferns, Gardening, Hosta, Live Oak Trees, Moss, Spring Flowering Bulbs, Uncategorized, Zinnia