Category Archives: tulips

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.

Ali and Friends

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

The Morning Walk

When I first began to garden

I unconsciously created a habit.

The morning garden walk.

I distinctly remember going out each morning

To walk through my first garden

To observe the changes

That can happen over night.

For instance, Lilies open in the night.

As do the blooms on Hardy Hibiscus.

So even though I walk along the same path each day

The path in spring

The path in spring

It’s different every time.

And summer

And summer

Subtle changes.

But change just the same.

The irony of this is that

We used to laugh at Daddy

When he would go to “check on” the wheat.

We accused him of spending time

Watching the wheat grow!

Every farmer does it

And they should

Just walking through the garden or wheat field.

Helps find things.

The first buds of spring.

Hellebores in January

Hellebores in January

Things that need to be done.

Bugs that have arrived to do good

Or not.

Remember last summer’s Harlequin bug invasion?

Diseases at their beginnings.

Weeds – always a few.

But I don’t stop to solve these problems on the morning walk.

No, the morning walk is simple to take it all in.

To enjoy

Nature's accident

Nature’s accident

To smile

To observe

Curious Peg

Curious Peg

To wander

And to wonder.

Gail

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Filed under Diseases, Gardening, Gardening;Perennials, Harlequin Bugs, Hellebores, Hydrangea, Japanese Tree Peony, Lady Bugs, Oriental Lilies, Perennials, Shasta Daisy, tulips, Uncategorized

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

Lenten Compost

 

 Probably the most asked gardening question this time of year

is how soon can I start. 

We all get spring fever.

Wanting to dig up something

or plant something.

I have followed the same schedule for years

decades really.

“If by the middle of March the 15 day forecast looks good

Let the fun begin.”

And it’s worked.

I’ve saved myself from doing lots of damage over the years

Until this year.

After this remarkably warm winter

Everything is ahead

way ahead.

I have tulips blooming on St. Patty’s day ahead!

St. Patty's Day Tulips

Which I guess means I’m behind.

But I’m not going to think like that.

I’m going to pace myself

So today I broke out my friendly leaf sucker and began.

John had placed the blanket of chopped leaves and grass

on my garden last fall.

Now it must come off

and head to the compost pile.

But first I dug up the end of last year’s leaves fully composted and

spread them around my little “hill”.

This rich remnant of leaves has been home to worms the size of small snakes.

Three wheel barrows full are now enriching the heretofore ignored east end of my garden.

The hole this created has been filled with the contents of one side of my composter

and an endless pile of chopped leaves.

The beginning of the next batch.

A friend sent me a Lenten devotional about composting.

It says that the metaphor of compost is fitting for Lent.

From death comes life.

It’s true .

In gardening.

In life.

Gail

P.S.  The Redbuds are lighting up this part of the world.

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Filed under Compost, Forsythia, Redbud Trees, tulips, Uncategorized, Violets

A DIFFERENT KIND OF “BLACK FRIDAY”

Thanksgiving Weekend.

I love the slow pace of this 4 day weekend.

At least the way it used to be.

Before Black Friday came along.

For me, I simply can’t get into the retail version of the day.

So yesterday I had a different kind of “Black Friday”.

I spent the day in the garden.

Digging in God’s great black earth.

Things are winding down in my garden.

Almost to a crawl.

But there is always something to do.

Megan and I are still trying to get our scheduled afternoon of bulb planting.

Because it’s getting a little late in the season

I went ahead and planted everything except the tulips leading to the garden house.

Lilies were the first on my list.

You may remember I’d gone a bit lily crazy on my order this year.

I have 25 mixed Oriental Lilies

They are going on the east side of the garden.

In front of a bank of Yews

Behind the Digitalis bed.

Or should I say the hoped for Digitalis bed.

I plan to try again with them in the spring.

This area lends itself to a trench as opposed to big oval holes.

It’s the same principal though.

Don’t dig a hole for each bulb.

And, because these come out of the ground a bit later.

Be sure and mark them so you won’t dig them up.

The saddest sound in the garden is a shovel slicing a lily bulb

Or a daffodil….or tulip…or dahlia.

I know I’ve sliced them all.

Then off to plant Trumpet Lilies.

These are golds, yellows and whites to fill in what I all ready have.

Next came the tulips that Debra gave me.

She selected black (Queen of the Night), white ( Maureen) and orange (Daydream)

For her dad’s garden.

So she gave me a few in memory of my dad.

Both of them taught at OSU during their “second careers”

So it is fitting. 

Then, I never can resist Parrot tulips.

This year I’m doing Rai a purple and green with a touch of white.

And Blumex – kind of pink and orange.

Now, I know, most of you finished your bulbs weeks ago

And you are likely pulling your Christmas decorations out of the attic today.

But…there is still a bit more to do.

The pumpkin tower I’ve had in the front pot

Is well…over.

So I buried a few daffodils in a plastic pot.

Actually I did the lasagna method but with all daffodils.

Then I buried the pot within the pot.

This is important because my front pot sits right out in the open.

Lots of cold air swirling around it all winter long.

The double layer of pots will provide a little insulation.

I covered it with pansies.

We’ll see what kind of winter we have.

And how they survive.

I likely have another day or two in the garden this season

The afore-mentioned garden house tulips

and I’m still hoping to move that rose bush.

Though it is likely too late.

Normally by this time of the year I’m ready to be done.

But not this year.

I’m enjoying these days of digging.

Winter is closing in.

But for now

Fall is still with us.

Who could ask for anything more.

Here are the last of the season’s flowers.

Still blooming happily.

Take care,

Gail

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Filed under Daffodils, Dahlias, Digitalis, Fall, Garden House, Gardening, Oriental Lilies, Trumpet Lily, tulips

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