Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Get Ready for Winter

Now is the time of year to prepare the garden for winter.  As much rain as we got this spring and summer, that is how dry it has been this fall.  Plants prepare for winter by transporting the energy produced in the leaves down to the roots and they need water to do this.  If you did any new planting this summer be sure to give those plants a good drink of water.  Don't assume the rain we are supposed to get tomorrow will be sufficient.  I have been dragging the hose around the garden for the last week making sure all my plants have adequate moisture.  I even watered the lawn, which I never do, because it is just so parched.

Besides getting ready for winter we can also prepare for some spring blooming by planting bulbs.  Bulbs seem to go in and out of fashion and you can tell they are currently out of fashion by the limited availability in the garden centers.  I don't know why that is because they really are a good value, especially when compared to buying them already in bloom next spring.  I like to "naturalize" my bulbs by planting them to look like they would in nature.  I don't plant them in rows in a border.  I plant mine in the lawn and in clumps in and among my perennials. 

Bulbs are not hard to plant.  They should be planted at a depth 3x the height of the bulb.  Small bulbs, like crocus and scilla, are planted just an inch or two below the surface of the soil, while larger bulbs, like tulips and daffodils should be planted much deeper.  This ability to plant at different depths allow you to layer the bulbs and you can actually plant enough different types of bulbs in a small area to have blooms from April through June.

If you planted bulbs last summer, you might have planted gladiolas, cannas or dahlias.  These bulbs are not hardy in our area and need to be dug up, dried, cleaned and stored in a cool, dry place until they can be planted next spring.