The Weekly Gardener 1


The Garden in October

Spring Planning


I really need to pick and plant spring bulbs, it's been so warm so late into the fall that I almost forgot about them. They can be planted any time before winter, as long as the ground is not frozen. I have some pretty daffodils I planted in the middle of December as proof.

There are a few good gardening practice rules that ensure the success of bulbs, even though they're pretty forgiving plants and might do well anyway.

First, don't plant them until temperatures drop into the fifties, otherwise they will sprout foliage right before the beginning of winter.

Second, plant them in groups of six or more, solitary bulbs don't look all that pretty and they fare so much better in company. Make sure to respect the planting depth, or your bulbs won't bloom. If you plant them too deep, they won't be able to reach up through the dirt in time for their season, and some will choose not to emerge at all.

When you dig their planting beds, make the holes wide and shallow, and don't crowd them. Spread a good handful of bone meal before you place and cover the bulbs.

If you have wildlife in your yard, and who doesn't, your spring bulbs will provide delightful treats for it during the cold season. If you'd rather keep your bulbs, try covering them with netting before you bury them.

Don't forget to water bulbs, especially while they are dormant. People tend to forget about them after they die down to the ground, but their water needs are the same.


The Last Blooms of Fall

Toad Lilies

Toad lilies are the last flowers of the year, at least in the garden. They start blooming mid-October, to keep company to the already brown seed heads of the sedums, and they stay in bloom until November, braving the first frosts.

People tend to associate bulbs with spring, and ignore their potential in the garden during summer and fall. For instance, I really miss the Casablanca lilies; I don't even know if they reached the end of their natural life cycle or succumbed to the unforgiving winter, but they all vanished one year, for no apparent reason.

The tuberose finished blooming, and not a moment too soon. It is more of a September flower, anyway, and it looks like the weather is finally turning cold. Any day now I'll have to move the tender perennials indoors.

It rained really hard last night, at the end of almost a month of dry weather, and it kept raining throughout the day.

Time for pumpkins, candy, and fall planting. There is a thick blanket of colorful leaves laid down along the way to the front door.