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Thursday, October 26, 2006


The earliest blooms in the spring are crocuses. They are a promise that spring is on its way. The bulbs can be planted in your garden or your lawn for naturalizing. I enjoy a mixture of lavender, yellow and white crocuses blooming before any plant life is seen. These plants multiply annually for increased beauty year after year.

Hyacinths are clusters of blooms that make a large flower with a deliciously fragrant aroma. Hyacinth blooms usually stay fresh for quite a while. We usually connect hyacinths with purple and white blooms, but catalogs now advertise red, maroon, blue, pink, lavender and various colors. These blooms are so large it only takes a few to fill any corner of your garden with beauty and a heavenly fragrance.


A great way to buy bulbs is in an assortment of outstanding varieties. Bulbs need at least four to six hours of direct sunlight per day during their active growth period in the spring. Remember it will be sunny under deciduous trees into The spring before leaves have developed. Spring-flowering bulbs can be planted anytime in the fall. Bulbs need a cold dormant period before starting their growth and blooming cycle. Water bulbs thoroughly at planting time and as you would all of your garden plants during their growing season. Bulbs will bloom the first year after planting. They should be left in the ground all year where winters are cold. In warm areas many spring-flowering bulbs will need an annual out-of-the-ground cooling. When planting bulbs, applying a bulb plant food will encourage bulbs to grow larger and bloom longer and brighter.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Saturday, October 21, 2006


October 21

I am continuing with information about iris. I have the Hybrid iris and there are so many colors available: blue, yellow, orange, salmon, bronze, dark purple, and many more. Also many iris have a combination of colors, ruffled edges, etc. There is very little work involved for the large beautiful blooms they create. I love to bring in bouquets and have that wonderful fragrance in my home. Iris do require full sunlight. My gardening book states they require rich, well-drained soil during summer dormancy. As I've said my iris bed is not well-drained soil. But here in Missouri the summers are rarely wet, so I guess there isn't a problem with too much water during the summer. But we have had rather damp, wet winters and so far I've never lost any iris. They just continue to thrive!

Beautiful, bright daffodils! They seem to bring the spring sunshine. I prefer the simple yellow kind; I guess that would be the plain old fashioned daffodils. Of course, I don't object to the giant sized blooms of the newer varieties. The flower catalogs have double ones, white with orange centers, even pink daffodils. Groupings of daffodils are showy and enhance your garden. They can be planted in your lawn for naturalizing. After they have flowered, cut their foliage and stems down to the ground level before mowing. They do not require special care and multiply each year, bringing increased beauty to your lawn or garden.

October 20


Its time to plant bulbs. I receive these beautiful fall catalogs so I surely cannot forget about the bulbs! There are many new varieties that ensure success in our gardens. Go to for some very good information on tulips. I was happy to read the information as I haven't had very good luck with tulips coming back.

Three or four years ago I planted Blue Grape Hyacinths and they have been a large success. They bloom very faithfully every spring and increase every year. I have most of them planted around my climatis and lace vine so they are quite showy. The vines have very little growth on the ground, therefore the hyacinths add quite a nice touch.

If you want something easy, just plant an iris bed. I have never bought an iris as they have all been given to me. The lower end of one of my flower beds does not drain well. I planted it with iris and they are doing beautifully. I really don't think you can kill an iris! I've seen people leave plants lay around for several days before planting, at any time of the year, and still they grew. It is good to thin them out every three or four years - that is how I had mine given to me. Friends were thinning their beds so were glad to have someone to give them to.

Chrysanthemums in the Fall

My mums are just beginning to bloom. I have them planted on the south side of the house in mixed colors. In just the past couple of years a friend told me to be sure to buy the hearty chrysanthemums if I wanted them to come back every year. I had complained to her that they were dying out after a year or two. I had just been buying those pretty potted plants at WalMart or the grocery store and they weren't the hearty mums. I dug up starts from my friend's garden and the past two years I have been very happy with them.

One of the great things about mums are the little care I give them. They start out little plants in the spring and I begin to wonder if they have died out some. Then by June they have grown to large plants and growing tall. By the end of June I cut them back to about 8 to 12 inches. We had a very dry summer this year and I watered them some but did not worry about making sure they were watered as much as most of my flowers. I did put some fertilizer (manure) on them early this spring, but never fertilized them any more after that. We have had a frost in the area now, but the mums just become more beautiful!

I really love my mum display. Most everything else has finished blooming or been frosted, but the mums are a beautiful fall color display.

My variety of mums are light purple single daisies, copper-orange pompons, rust-reds tight buttons, yellow pompons, and lavender-pink pompons. They are mostly shaped in mounds, but a few are a loose mound.

I have looked in my flower Gardening Guide and this book calls perennial mums a hybrid chrysanthemum. This was what I called a hearty mum.

Chrysanthemums require full sun, humus-rich, well-drained, acid soil. So I presume I have the proper requirements for my mum garden as they surely do very well.


If you would like to start a mum bed, plant bare-root or small container-grown plants in spring, placing them 3 feet apart. Remember if you want them to come back every year purchase the hybrid chrysanthemums. Divide mums every three or four years in the spring to keep vigorous.
Cut back old stems early spring. During the summer months plants will put out some blooms; these should be pinched to promote later blooming. Again the last of June or early July cut back plants to about 8 inches tall; this helps plants stay compact.

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