Ad Spot

Plant in fall for a colorful spring display

By Melinda Myers
It’s time to think spring. Fall is the time to plant tulips, daffodils, crocus and other spring flowering bulbs. Use these early bloomers to welcome spring to your landscape. You’ll appreciate the color and cheery blooms after another long winter passes.\
Extend your enjoyment by including early blooming bulbs like snowdrops, squills, and winter aconites. Add early, mid, or late spring blooming tulips and early and mid-spring flowering daffodils for a continuous display of color. Check the package or catalog description for bloom times. Gardeners in milder climates should look for low chill varieties that need a minimal cold period to bloom or plant prechilled bulbs annually. In either case, wait until late fall or early winter to plant.
Create some winning combinations by planting white tulips with grape hyacinths or yellow daffodils with the equally assertive blue squills. Plant a fragrant garden bouquet by combining tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. Select varieties that bloom at the same time in complementary colors or blends.
Include summer flowering hardy lilies. Many are fragrant and these stately beauties provide vertical accents in the garden. Cut a few stems to display in a vase or mix with other flowers in summer bouquets.
Don’t let hungry animals stop you from brightening your spring with these bulbs. Include animal resistant bulbs like hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, fritillarias, and alliums. You can plant tulips, crocus, and lilies, just be sure to use physical barriers like chicken wire or animal repellents like rain resistant Plantskydd (plantskydd.com). It’s an organic repellent that comes in both liquid and granular formulations to protect bulbs animals prefer to eat.
Lay the bulbs out on newspaper, apply the liquid repellent, and allow them to dry before planting.  Add an extra layer of protection by sprinkling the granular repellent over the soil surface. In spring, begin protecting the plants before the animals begin feeding. Follow label directions for proper timing of additional repellent applications.
Prepare the soil before planting. Work compost, peatmoss, or other organic matter into the top twelve inches of soil to improve drainage, a key factor in growing success.
Wait until the soil is cool to plant your bulbs. This is usually after the first hard frost or when night temperatures average between 40 and 50 degrees. Plant the bulbs two to three times their vertical height deep and at least two to three times their diameter apart. Try grouping at least six to nine larger bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, and 15 to 20 smaller bulbs, like squills and crocus, together for greater impact.
Mix a low nitrogen, slow release fertilizer into the soil surface and water thoroughly after planting.  Continue watering thoroughly when the soil is dry throughout the fall, while the bulbs grow roots.
After you enjoy their blooms next spring, leave the leaves intact until they yellow. Leaves produce the energy needed for next year’s floral display. Mask the fading foliage by planting winter hardy pansies with your bulbs in fall, adding color to both fall and spring gardens. Or plant bulbs amongst perennials. Early spring flowering perennials double your pleasure, later bloomers extend the flowering season, and both help hide fading bulb foliage.
Break out your trowel and gloves and get busy planting. You’ll be glad you did when that first flower appears next spring.
(Melinda Myers has written more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series and the Melinda’s Garden Moment TV & radio segments.)

News

Tension with sister’s fiancé makes holiday outlook bleak

Local news

City Council meets in a special-called session

Local news

Covered Bridge serves as a beacon of light this holiday season

Local news

McAbee discusses Carter County Schools and ‘snow days’

News

Camping in Tennessee soars during pandemic

BREAKING NEWS

US virus deaths top 3,100  in a single day for the first time

DEVELOPING NEWS

TN Promise needs 800 volunteer mentors by December 4

Local news

Elizabethton Rotary Club welcomes new members and presents checks to local nonprofits

News

Wendy’s teen worker’s shoulder bit by manager

Church News

Church Briefs

Church News

Words of affirmation by the Father are important

Church News

New minister at Elizabethton Church of Christ

Local news

Ballad Health Officials suspend elective/non-emergent procedures 

News

FBI searches for ‘Too Tall Bandit’ after 16 bank robberies

Local news

ETSU’s Dr. Jonathan Moorman receives VA grant to study COVID-19

Local news

2021 schedule released for Elizabethton Baseball Club

Local news

ETSU student pharmacist earns American Indian Graduate Center scholarship

News

Tennessee expands COVID-19 mental health hotline to teachers

News

Alexander preaches consensus in farewell to fractious Senate

News

Prosecutors seek to have 3 tossed Pilot convictions restored

Local news

A ‘not so special’ home delivery

Local news

What the gold ball really is all about

Local news

EACA and CCDPC partner to bring art to at-risk youth

Local news

A Life Lived: Rex Simerly valued his  employees and the people around him