Friday, May 1, 2015

Late Getting Summer Bulbs Started

Being quick to order bulbs is always not a good thing unless you can keep them from sprouting in the house and plan on planting them on time. This year I'm starting mine late. Planting up my order from Bluestone Perennials: canna, elephant ears, caladium, and lilies. Last years bulbs were soaked in water in the hope to put them directly in the ground but I didn't get around to it yesterday maybe today if I feel well enough to do it. I also started two ornamental sweet potato tubers but not in the ways I've read. Most people put the bottom in water and wait for the slips to grow on top. I also read that the potato can be cut in half and put cut side down into soil. I did place them in soil but didn't cut them in half. Last year I had one and I waited too late to put it into water. It had started getting soft and nothing grew. I got tired of emptying cloudy water and threw it out so I really didn't want to try this method. Lets see what happens. I was envious when I saw them at the garden center last week but I wasn't tempted to buy any. I was successful this winter keeping them till spring hard and firm. Now to perfect my technique so I don't have to buy any.

 Red dahlias purchased from Home Depot and Lilies went out front. When they start to emerge I'll stake them although maybe I should have placed stakes before planting so I won't injure the tubers later. I still have to find room for balloon flower tubers. They remind me of parsnips, the same color and shape. I wanted pink or white flowered ones but they only had blue at the flower show in March. The season is moving along quickly to me or maybe it's my spending lots of time in the garden this year planting, cleaning up, and trying to see what will work. Mulching still needs to be done when I think most of the perennials have emerged. Three astilbe in the flower bed are doing well but I want to move them to the cedar container because they like moisture and usually dry up in the heat of June, July, and August. They should love the moisture there. Hopefully they won't died from moving them.

I was less than thrilled when I planted the bare root plants purchased from the flower show. Some tubers were so tiny I'm worried they won't do anything. I planted shooting stars, Virginia bluebells, trillium, and fern. The trillium did have growth when I planted it but now has disappeared. Hopefully the roots are still alive and will show up next spring. I haven't even see the fern emerge yet and that may signal trouble because it should be up by now. When Prairie Moon Nursery has a sale, I plan on ordering some more and some other native plants. I wanted to try wild ginger this year but haven't seen it in garden centers yet. I may never see it in a traditional nursery. A native plant sale may be the way to go if I don't want to mail order it. I know Bartram's Garden has one every summer. I've never been there.

No attention has been given to the window boxes yet as I don't know what to do with them. I want something that will return year after year with little care and not spend lots on annuals every year. For the box in the shade I'm thinking of some large hosta and maybe fern and just a few colorful annuals and trailing vines. I still like the small shrubs because they give year round interest but have died the second time this year during winter. I don't know if I can commit to watering them all winter or even remembering to. I'll have to think about that before I spend more money on them and they would have to be discounted like the ones that died.

A rose bush, ornamental grass, blueberry, and blackberry are waiting to be planted. I need to decide on what containers to put everything in except the grass which will go in the flower bed. It has new blades of grass but probably would be doing better if it had already been planted. In the yard is a corner of plants, shrubs that haven't done anything yet, most maybe dead. My fig tree has not yet shown signs of life nor the crepe myrtle I purchased on sale in the fall. I have a camellia that appears dead. that will definitely go out in the trash next week as I waited a whole year hopeful that it would return as the fig tree did last year. Some annuals are also waiting to be planted. I bought pink impatiens but really wanted red which weren't out when I bought them. The color really pops in the garden. I may still get red ones and plant the pink in other areas. When the tulips finish their display I'm going to pull them up as they aren't perennial and other plants can be put in their place. I love the orange ones and may save them to replant and see if they return. In the fall I'll be planting some perennial ones so less planting every fall will be needed for a while and it will certainly cut down on cost. I hope your garden is coming along well and you're enjoying the spring blooms before the heat of summer. Happy gardening.

My  sweet potato tubers from last summer.

This is a trailing one so I planted it in the hanging container.

Begonias. They were healthy and solid with eyes. Wasn't sure if to plant them eye side up or down.

Elephant Ear


I liked this potting soil.
Elephant ears. It was supposed to be 3 but 4 were in the pack. I planted 2 to a container.

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