Tag Archive | spring flowers

Transplanting Daffodils

4eb015c098194a88800061c2c8073efd--flower-gardening-organic-gardeningMoving to a new location? Or, maybe your daffodils have spread beyond the intended space? Or, maybe you want to share with others? The ideal time to dig up daffodils is about eight weeks after flowering, when the foliage has just started to yellow — and while you’re at it, you might as well divide the large-flowered ones. Small-flowered types can be left alone indefinitely, but most large-flowered daffodils must be divided every three to five years or you’ll end up with nothing but leaves.

Dig the new planting holes before you start, figuring that each old clump is probably getting overcrowded, should be divided, and so will need about three or four times as much space in the new location(s). Have extra soil and sod ready to fill in the old holes. Choose an overcast day, or work in the evening. Using a digging fork, putting it deep into the soil, cut a line around the clump about 2 inches from its outside edge. Keep working your way around, loosening the lifting, following the line you cut, until the whole clump is free. Lever it out, gently break it apart, and then work the sod away from the stems and set it aside for lawn repair.

Separate the bulbs, letting them fall naturally into smaller clumps that still have dirt 100_5200attached. Don’t tear the roots — you can hose off the roots, disentangle them, and do a more thorough job of dividing. Plant in the prepared holes, and water well.

Save the fertilizer for the fall. By the time daffodils (genus Narcissus) bloom, their leaves are almost finished transferring the carbohydrates they’ve made into the bulb for storage. As the chlorophyll breaks down and the leaves turn yellow, the plants need only sunlight, air, and water to finish up.

If you need to fertilize daffodils, do it in early spring just as new growth pops up, or in the fall when roots are growing and daughter bulbs are being formed. Use a balanced fertilizer or well-rotted compost to maintain nutrition in situations where the bulbs are crowded or are permitted to set seed, which takes a lot of energy.

Many gardeners also hedge their bets by mixing a bulb booster into the bottom of the hole when planting bulbs, because it is high in phosphorus, which does not move much in the soil. Phosphorus encourages root growth, the first order of business for a newly planted bulb.

Advertisements

Old-fashioned but never out of style: Peonies

by OCMGA Master Gardener Vicki Schilleman

Whenever I see peonies in bloom, I think of my Grandpa. In his garden, he had the most beautiful deep red peonies and, in my garden, I now have two huge, healthy plants that are glorious each year. I’ve also added pink and yellow peonies to my garden and I’m so thrilled that this lovely bloomer continues to be popular.

Common name: Peony

Botanical name: Paeonia; there are more than 30 species, including P. officinalis, P. lactiflora, and P. mollis, and many hubrids and cultivars

Height: up to about 3 feet tall, 3 feet wide

Hardiness: Zones 3-8

Bloom time: Mid- to late spring, into early summer

Conditions: Plant peonies in well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. The pointed eyes (where shoots emerge) should only be about 2 inches below soil level, with the eyes facing up.

Best features: Peonies are among the easiest perennial plants to grow. They are long-lived, are not much bothered by pests, and tolerate drought. Established peonies can be relied upon to produce dozens of flowers every spring. There are thousands of hybrids and many different flower types, but semidouble and double peonies are the classic blooms. The flowers can be pale or bright pink, magenta, deep red, pure white, rich coral, soft yellow, or bicolored. A good selection of early-, mid-, and late-blooming varieties will provide flowers for six weeks. Flowers can be cut on stems up to 24 inches long. Peony foliage is pretty, too, and the plants are a substantial presence in any garden.

Peonies coming up in the spring

Peonies are easy to share: Propagate plants by division. Dig them up in fall, and divide the crown carefully with a sharp knife; each division should have at least one eye, preferably more. You should be able to separate an established plant into at least three divisions. A divided plant will be more vigorous than one that you simply dig and move without dividing.

Be sure to fertilize with aged compost or manure. Peonies are particularly sensitive to fresh

manure — it will severely damage the plant. Peonies like slightly alkaline soil conditions.

I can’t recommend strongly enough these old-fashioned plants for your garden. The blooms are lovely, with a marvelous aroma, and the foliage is beautiful. The plants require almost no care — and don’t knock those ants off the blooms! As explained in a previous post, those little warriors are helping the plant!

Make your Lilacs Last

Long lasting and cut lilacs don’t go together, no matter what you do, but there are ways to have them look good for at least four or five days.

lilacs-in-the-windowStart by getting up early — lilacs cut before the day warms last longest. Select flower trusses that are about half open, and use a very sharp pruner to cut just above a leaf node. [Note: for information on caring for your tools, see our previous blogpost].  Because next year’s flowers will form on this year’s terminal branches, try to leave as many of those as possible.

Cutting the highest flowers first will encourage a nice full shrub with lots of bloom down where you can enjoy it. Use a ladder if necessary.

Once back on the ground, remove lower leaves from the stems. Fill a vase with warm water and add commercial flower preservative.

Hold the bottom of the stems under warm water, and recut at a 45-degree angle. If the stems are thick and woody, use a sturdy knife to slit the bases a couple of times. Otherwise, just leave them as is. The smashing that many of us grew up learning to do is no longer recommended; badly crushed cells can’t take up watec58587e1f2d82c269914500d60436277r. Put the cut stems in the vase while they are still wet.

Display the lilacs in a cool place, out of direct sun and away from the fruit bowl (the ethylene gas given off by apples, bananas, tomatoes, and other fruits hastens the decay of flowers). If you have room in the refrigerator, store the bouquet in it each night when you go to bed.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on the water level (lilacs drink a lot), and to change the water every other day so decay-causing bacteria won’t build up.

Welcome Spring!

by Master Gardener Rich Fischer

We have had a cold and wet Spring, but finally the signs of Spring are upon us.  I say this because our magnolia tree is finally blooming, and quite nicely too.  The other little signs, beside the robins and redwing blackbirds and killdeer are the hyacinth and daffodils.   Just thought I’d share these Springtime blooming photos with my fellow GardenSnip bloggers.  The power of our collective Springtime thoughts might warm up our weather a little bit!