By Melinda Myers
Gardening Expert, TV & Radio Host, Author and Columnist
Don’t miss a chance to color up your spring landscape. Get busy now planting spring flowering bulbs like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths.
Look for creative ways to use bulbs in your landscape. Plant a massive ribbon of blue squills or grape hyacinths to create the illusion of a river in your spring landscape. Or, fill the front lawn with shorter bulbs for added color. Just wait until they are done blooming to mow the grass at its highest possible setting.
Mix bulbs to double the bloom power or extend their flowering beauty. I like to mix the equally assertive daffodils and squills for a double layer of color. Try combining early blooming crocus with mid-spring daffodils, late-spring tulips and even later blooming allium for months of enjoyment.
And force a few to enjoy indoors or outdoors in areas where you can’t plant bulbs in the ground. Give these bulbs 15 weeks of temperatures between 35 and 45 degrees to initiate bloom.
Plant spring flowering bulbs outdoors in fall, so winter’s chill can set the flower buds for the beautiful spring flowers. Those gardening in the South need to look for bulbs that require minimal chilling or are pre-cooled for winter planting. Northern gardeners have until the ground freezes to get their bulbs in the ground.
Plant bulbs two to three times their vertical height, deep in properly-prepared soil. Add a low-nitrogen, slow-release fertilizer like Milorganite to the soil at planting. Water thoroughly, as the bulbs are putting down roots before the ground freezes.
Those tired of battling the animals may want to plant resistant bulbs, such as daffodils, hyacinths, Fritillaria, alliums, Camassia, glory-of-the snow, snow drops, squills and grape hyacinths.
Or, protect animal favorites like tulips, lilies and crocus with a bulb dip of Bobbex. Start with a pair of waterproof gloves for this task. Bobbex is safe and natural, but not a fragrance you want to wear all day long. Carefully remove the papery cover, and soak the bulbs for 3 to 5 minutes in Bobbex. You will have the best results using the concentrated formula of Bobbex-R Animal repellent. Allow the bulbs to dry before planting. The scent of Bobbex masks the smell of the bulbs, protecting them from hungry critters throughout the winter.
Then, next spring, apply Bobbex to your bulbs and other landscape plants as soon as they emerge and leaf out, protecting them from hungry rabbits, deer and other animals.
So, get a jump on the spring season with a bit of fall landscape care.
Nationally-known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author and columnist Melinda Myers has 30 years of horticulture experience and has written more than 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and The Garden Book for Wisconsin. She hosts the nationally-syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments, which air on 89 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S. Visit www.melindamyers.com.
From the Oct. 26-Nov. 1, 2011, issue