Good morning truth-seekers! Are y'all getting to enjoy some fall weather around your neck of the woods (as Mr. Al Roker would say)? It is still in the upper 80's here in Dothan but it feels so good when a breeze drifts our way! I thought with the changing of seasons, it would be fun to do a couple of posts to welcome fall. My friend Ashley wrote us a great post about transitioning your house into fall that I'll share with y'all next week but today I'd like to share a post written by my very own aunt Janie.
Remember when I told y'all about our trip to Texas this summer? We stayed at my aunt and uncle's house and I was amazed not only with their beautiful restored home and Texas cuisine but also all of her flowers. From her front porch to her back yard; everywhere we looked we saw beautiful blooms surrounding her home.
Come to find out, my aunt has been taking courses to become a master gardener and I believe she passed by the looks of her home! So, today I would like to welcome these tips from my aunt about gardening for the fall.
Spring bulbs are early blooming beauties that signal the return of life to the garden. There are many kinds of bulbs that flourish in the south and once planted, will maintain themselves for years with very little care. Bulbs “naturalize” themselves and will multiply over the years. Every four or five years you will need to dig up the crowded clumps and spread them around or give extras to friends as “pass along plants.”
You can choose to plant bulbs in a specific area or plant them several inches apart in rows or circles. Many gardeners create a naturalistic effect by planting many different types together, some tall, some short, different colors….all nodding in the breeze making a rainbow of color. You really can’t make a mistake with bulbs. They all add grace and beauty wherever they are planted. Your work in the garden in the fall of the year will pay off in the spring for many years to come!
Some hints to plant a successful bulb garden:
- When selecting bulbs, always look for fat, firm ones which are free of mold or bruising
- Select a planting site which gets at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and has good drainage
- To check for good drainage, loosen the soil about 10 inches deep and mix compost into the bed. Check the drainage by making a hole 8 inches deep. Then pour about 2 cups of water into the hole. If the water drains out within 5-10 minutes, the drainage is good!
- Plant most bulbs two times deeper than their width. But the best advice is READ THE DIRECTIONS! I always put a little bone meal into the hole before covering with soil. Then I add hardwood or pine straw mulch. The mulch will help protect the bulbs from the winter variations in temperature.
- Always plant the bulb with the root down. Most of the time, dried roots will be on the bottom of the bulb or a pointed end indicates the top of a bulb. If you plant upside down, your bulb might not come up!
- Leave the yellowed leaves on after flowering. Your bulbs store nutrients inside their bulbs and need this foliage for next year’s return. Do not cut them off until they are all brown. The best way to hide these leaves after the bulbs have flowered is to plant annuals or spring blooming perennials in front or around these bulbs so the ugly brown leaves are hidden.
Some of my favorites include NARCISSUS – Plant Oct. – Dec. or after it turns cooler weather. Plant about 4 inches deep. They bloom from March to April.
Another favorite is BEARDED IRIS
– Plant Oct, Nov or March just below the surface of soil. They bloom from April to May.
GRAPE HYACINTH – Great for mass plantings.
Plant Oct-Dec. 2 inches deep. They bloom in March and April.
DAFFODILS – Plant from Oct – Dec 4 inches deep. Bloom March – April.
ALLIUMS – Plant Oct – Dec about 4 inches deep. They bloom April to May.
CRINIUMS- Harder to find but an old fashioned plant and beautiful when blooming. Multiply with “pups” which are smaller bulbs which pop up around the original.
Allium Grape Hyacinth or Muscari
Hyacinths @ Dallas Arboretum
Cecil Houdyshell Crinium (in my yard)
Yellow Daffodils mixed with red tulips at the Dallas Arboretum
Bio: Janie Ridley Bice is Christen’s paternal aunt who lives in Texas. She has many interests and just has to find time to enjoy them all! She loves gardening, photography, history, genealogy, traveling, cooking, reading, old houses with front porches and small towns with friendly people. When she is not busy doing these things or spending time with her four grandchildren, she works as a Realtor in the North Texas area. She has a great love of God, family, and country (ESPECIALLY the SOUTH!). She and her husband, Richard, recently bought a 92 year old Craftsman home in a historical neighborhood in Sherman, TX. They have spent the last two years remodeling their home, doing most of the work themselves. They also have reestablished the gardens and yard on their 1/2 acre lot trying to use many of the heritage and cottage garden plants which would have been present when the house was built in 1920. Janie also is a member of the Daughters of American Revolution, Master Gardeners of Grayson County, Antique Club, Grayson Country Historical Society, and First United Methodist Church of Sherman.