Archive for September 1st, 2010

Now is the time to start thinking about next springs bulbs, and adding fall colours to your outdoor pots and urns.

Sadly the nights are starting to draw to a close earlier and earlier, and some of our outdoor pots and urns have taken a beating with this hot dry summer so you might have a few spots that need spicing up with fall cabbages, mums, and small pepper plants.

The ornamental cabbages like the cool evenings, which in turn helps them change color and will keep going right through until the first heavy frost. They do however like a sunny spot. Chrysanthemums, and small pepper plants also look great in containers, and Baltic Ivy is the one that changes to beautiful fall colors with the cool evenings too.

After the long weekend you will start to notice bulbs appearing in the stores, which is exciting to start mapping out for next year. Remember to keep your tallest plants at the back of the flower bed. Try to find a sunny spot or slightly shaded area, remove any weeds and prepare your ground. You can use a bulb planter or trowel to dig a hole 8” deep. Add a small amount of gravel to the bottom of the hole for drainage, then add a small handful of bone meal to each hole, place the bulb in the hole pointed side up.

Unless the ground is really dry there is no need to water the newly planted bulbs as they may rot if the soil becomes sodden and waterlogged. There should be enough rain through the autumn and winter to provide enough moisture. The general rule to remember with fertilizing is once when planting, once just after the bulbs emerge and again right after flowering.  Try to plant in groups and avoid planting in rows. Here is a small chart to help you with different bulbs.

Bulb                 Planting depth         Distance apart        Number per group

Tulips                   8 inches                  6 inches             At least 5 for a clump

Daffodils               8                            6                       15 for a mass

Crocus                  2 to 3                     2 to 3                 9 to 12 bulbs

Grape hyacinth      2 to 3                     2 to 3

Hyacinth florist      2 to 3                     2 to 3

Snowdrops            2 to 3                     2 to 3                9 to 12 bulbs

Allium                    2 to 3                      2 to 3                9 to 12 bulbs

Allium (Globe Master) 2 to 3                      2 to 3                9 to 12 bulbs

Trying to get rid of those pesky squirrels that seem to dig up your bulbs as soon as your back is turned? Well here are a few helpful suggestions:

  1. Sprinkle generous amounts of blood bone meal around the top of the beds.
  2. Frighten squirrels with toy rubber snakes, Squirrels are afraid of snakes and will avoid containers if you place them around it.
  3. Install mesh over the dirt until you see the bulbs start to peek through.
  4. Collect discarded dog or human hair from the groomer or hairdresser and sprinkle on the top of the dirt.
  5. Place fresh coffee grounds together with the bulbs.

There is still time to plant perennials for next year and now is a good time to pick them up at your local garden centre as they are all on sale right now.

Happy gardening, and don’t worry there is still lots of summer left!!!

Nicola Bishop works at East of Eliza


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