The Weekly Gardener 1


Fall Again

The Spring Catalogs are Here

Lavender Hostas

The bulb catalogs started arriving in the mail, which gives me about a month to plan for next spring. Probably more. If you plant spring bulbs before the weather cools down for good they tend to sprout in the fall and spend their energy reserves on producing doomed foliage instead of storing it to feed bloom in spring.

Almost all bulbs, with the exception of daffodils, are food delicacies for wildlife during the long winter months. Either cover them with a mesh before you bury them, or plant twice as many. Of course I'm not sold on the daffodil bulbs being bitter either, because something must happen to them between the time I plant them in large numbers and the time they never come out of the ground.

Don't forget to sprinkle a good helping of bone meal at the bottom of the hole and plant bulbs in groups of five or six - they look better in the landscape and are happier among their kin.

General gardening practice recommends replacing bulbs every three years, because they exhaust their energy reserves and stop blooming after that. I'm not sure that is necessarily true, but I never got to worry about the bulbs exhausting themselves, the squirrels always get to them before that, so I guess the three year replacement cycle is more like a yearly replacement cycle.



Bee on Sedum

I love watching bees swarm the stonecrops on nice sunny afternoons. If a garden is thriving, the bees will come to visit, but if you want to entice them further, here are a few pointers.

Avoid using insecticides, pesticides or harsh fertilizers.

Bees like tiny flowers that make it easier for them to collect pollen and nectar, so plant as many of the following as possible to attract them: sedums, catmints, beebalm, lemon balm, goldenrod, lavender, butterfly bush, mint, basil, thyme, rosemary and verbena.

If you can, provide a source of fresh water.

Choose native and heirloom species, they constitute better sources of pollen, which has been bred out of the hybrid varieties in the process of hybridization.

Have flowers in bloom for all the seasons. Plant herbs, they love herbs. Make room for flowering trees.

Allow the garden to grow a little wild to make the bees feel more at home and provide them with shelter.