Seasons

Marking bulb plantings

Autumn sends northern gardeners’ thoughts to spring when bulbs cheerily bloom and chase away a gardener’s winter doldrums. But when planting groups of spring-blooming bulbs, how do you mark their location?

When I first began planting bulbs, I had smaller gardens with fewer plantings making it easy to recall where I dug in each grouping. Through years of adding bulb plantings to my expanding gardens, it became harder to keep track of the exact location of each bulb group. Many springs I surprised myself by forgetting about the location of a previous autumn’s bulb planting. This is not a bad thing, but it’s not exactly good gardening practice. Then, after accidentally digging into a group of bulbs during one of my many perennial bed rearranging spurts, I began marking each bulb planting in some way.

The obvious labeling option is to stick a plant tag into the ground towards the rear of each grouping. I suppose this works for botanical gardens and/or really, really organized gardeners using special metal plant markers, but such markers become quite an investment. Less expensive wooden or plastic plant tags either decay or break and I’m just not a fan of the sight of plant tags sticking out of perennial beds during snow-less winter months. Besides, I’m not that organized!

This led to a different obvious marking method … rocks. In New England we ‘grow’ as many rocks as anything, so encircling each planting with rocks became my go-to method. Flat rocks nicely mark bulb plantings when bulb foliage is no longer visible. Rocks blend into summer-blooming plantings. Rocks are free and abundant. Plus it’s easy to expand a rock circle outward as bulb groupings expand in size.

Spring bulb planting marked by a circle of flat rocks.

Spring bulb planting marked by a circle of flat rocks.

My absolute favorite method, though, uses re-purposed metal bands from no longer usable barrels … yep, those half-barrels sold as planters. The circular bands that once held wooden barrel slats in shape are perfect bulb-planting markers in my gardens.

Spring bulb planting marked with a re-purposed metal barrel band.

Spring bulb planting marked with a re-purposed metal barrel band.

The bands clearly mark bulb plantings, stay in place and don’t break or decay. The bands virtually disappear from view as neighboring perennials grow and, since I like to use old garden tools as garden ornaments, the rusty, old barrel bands fit right into my garden design style.

And while on the subject of planting bulbs … for the most look-at-me impact, plant bulbs in groupings of 5 to 10 bulbs per planting hole. Please avoid planting a row of one bulb in one hole. They’ll end up looking like a bunch of schoolchildren lined up to head to the lunch room.

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Morning in the garden – July 13, 2014

Early morning is my favorite time in the garden. It’s quiet and there are few distractions. It’s a perfect time to enjoy the views. Here’s a look at my perennial beds this morning, July 13, 2014.

Having a back yard fence protects ‘deer candy’ plantings from the jaws of the area’s most prolific herbivores. Until we added the fence a few years ago, a necessity once we installed an in-ground pool, I had little success getting day lilies to bloom, and trying to grow phlox was futile. The beds have matured nicely. This week I finally had time to devote to my own rather than clients’ gardens. So … with fresh edging and mulch these beds are ready to show.

We enter from the gate.

Welcome to joene's gardens in mid-July.

Welcome to joene’s gardens in mid-July.

And walk to the other end of the fenced-in yard.

Early morning in joene's gardens, mid-July

Early morning in joene’s gardens, mid-July

The yellow and pink shades of the lilies provide the bulk of the mid-summer pop.

Here’s a closer look at the lilies currently in bloom.

Asiatic lily 'Landini' (foreground), Asiatic lily 'Rosella's Dream', and the yellow Hemerocallis 'Hyperion' July 13, 2014

Asiatic lily ‘Landini’ (foreground), Asiatic lily ‘Rosella’s Dream’, and the yellow Hemerocallis ‘Hyperion’ July 13, 2014

Landini is a stunning shade of maroon, offering an unusual dark contrast to the Asiatic lily display. Take a look at the photo of ‘Rosella’s Dream’ in last week’s Morning in the garden post and you can see Landini’s buds.

Asiatic lily 'Landini' July 13, 2014

Asiatic lily ‘Landini’ July 13, 2014

Farther along in this bed, beyond the lilies, is day lily Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’.  She never had the chance to bloom until I transplanted her to this deer-protected area.

Hemerocallis 'Siloam Ury Winniford' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Siloam Ury Winniford’ July 13, 2014

Then, farther along near a bird bath, is the last bloom of this Iris ensata.

Iris ensata (unknown variety), July 13, 2014

Iris ensata (unknown variety), July 13, 2014

Looking back toward the gate from inside the fence …

Perennial bed in joene's garden, July 13, 2014

Perennial bed in joene’s garden, July 13, 2014

Two of the three day lily varieties have opened. You can see ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ above and in close-up below.

Hemerocallis 'Prairie Blue Eyes' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Prairie Blue Eyes’ July 13, 2014

Not captured in the overview shot is ‘Catherine Woodbury’.

Hemerocallis 'Catherine Woodbury' July 13, 2014

Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’ July 13, 2014

Along the fence, phlox ‘Blue Paradise’ continue to bloom and send a sweet fragrance through the garden.

Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise' July 13, 2014

Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ July 13, 2014

And the first balloon flower opened this morning.

The first Platycodon grandiflorus, aka balloon flower, July 13, 2014

The first Platycodon grandiflorus, aka balloon flower, July 13, 2014 . 

Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’ continues to bloom between the phlox and balloon flower. See last week’s Morning in the garden post for a closer look of these bright yellow blooms.

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Morning in the garden, July 6, 2014

Early morning is my favorite time in the garden. Birds sing, bees buzz and most human-created noise is quiet.

Here’s a sampling of this morning, July 6, 2014.

A favorite color combination, purple and yellow, as displayed by the concurrent blooms of Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’ that wafts it’s sweet fragrance through the garden, and the day lily Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’.

Hemerocallis 'Going Bananas' and Phlox paniculata 'Blue Paradise'

Hemerocallis ‘Going Bananas’ and Phlox paniculata ‘Blue Paradise’

 

Then there’s the lavender. I’m not 100% sure, but it’s likely ‘Hidcote’ or ‘Grosso’ … both grow well in my Connecticut gardens as long as they are not buried over the winter in shovels-full of snow.

Lavender in July in Connecticut

Lavender in July in Connecticut

Asiatic lilies are starting to put on a show. These are ‘Rosella’s Dream’.

Asiatic lily 'Rosella's Dream'

Asiatic lily ‘Rosella’s Dream’

Iris ensata, the last of my iris to bloom each year unless the reblooming variety manages to throw out a couple of late summer/early autumn blooms, completes this morning’s show.

Iris ensata, unknown variety.

Iris ensata, unknown variety.

 

 

 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Joene Hendry