Two Hour Gardening Project: Stage 14

Bulbs are always great garden favourites, bringing colour at a time of year when most gardens are otherwise dull and cheerless. We plan a blaze of colour near our window with a mixed display bed. Order and purchase now, plant when the annuals have finished flowering and the vegetables have been harvested. Put small bulbs in the cottage garden area or in the lawn to naturalize. Once established they’ll spread. Seed grass to complete preparation of new circular lawn.

Needs list: assortment of mixed bulbs; lawn seed.

Time budget: 2 hours in 2 weeks

Early October weather/soil

A variable month, sometimes cold and wet, sometimes a glowing Indian summer. Can be busy if the weather permits, with the soil still warm enough for planting and plenty of seeds and fruits to harvest. Differences between northern and southern gardens begin to reassert themselves.

Flower of the Fortnight

Bulb planting time is here already, and therein lies a lesson: it’s just no good rushing out to buy bulbs when everyone else’s daffodils are in flower: for a really good show plant August/September. The problem with bulbs, especially for first-time gardeners, is that the choice is bewilderingly wide. Our choice is simple: daffodils, for the whites, saffrons and yellows; tulips in almost every colour except blue; and hyacinths mainly for their scent: go for the blues and pinks for best combined effect. Choose your own varieties from your local garden centre: they’ll only sell tried and trusted hardy varieties. Small bulbs offer less colour choice, but extend the bulb season from January through April.

Groundwork

1. Store bulbs waiting to be planted in a cool, dark, dry place. Do not plant them when the ground is wet and sticky. Wait for drier conditions. You do not have to plant your bulbs precisely at midnight on the first night of full moon after September 1 – you’ve got about a month/6 weeks to plant them. Wait till conditions are right.

2. Check newly planted tree, make sure it is securely tied to its stake, that neither stake nor tie are rubbing bark away. Keep putting lawn clippings/moss peat or compost round base to mulch.

3. Cut lawn less frequently now, and raise the blades on the mower a little. Give the lawn its last feed before it stops growing.

4. Using trowel, dig up any wallflower seedlings and plant in groups among the display bulbs.

5. Watch your gladioli. When all the leaves have died back remove stakes, cut off dead leaves at ground level, store in dry sand or peat in boxes over.winter in a dark, frost-free place.

6. Cut chrysanthemum blooms for indoor decoration.

7. Recognize the beetles in your garden: nearly all are beneficial.

Project work: planting bulbs; collecting seeds; sowing seeds

Spring may still seem a long way off, but now’s the time to plant if you want a first rate spring bulb display. First clear the border of annuals and dig up the harvested vegetables. Dig over the bed thoroughly. Add I in. layer peat. Rake. Dig bulb holes with trowel. Put handful soilless growing mix in bottom, bed bulbs into it. Top up hole with same mix. On heavy soils, dig circular hole, cover bottom with moss peat/sand/ soil, bed bulbs, dome over with soilless mix, in-fill.

Crocuses are excellent under grass. Look natural. Lift turf (Stage 8), prepare hole as shown, plant as for other bulbs, replace turf, refirm.

 crocuses are excellent under grass

Chionodoxa, crocus, bluebell, snowdrop, are all bulbs suitable for naturalizing by planting as for crocus. Collect heads of 1 Shirley poppy, 2 calendula, place heads in separate envelopes, label. Sow seed next spring. Seeds store best in a cool, dry, dark cupboard.

Move to ground prepared in Stage 12 for new lawn. Soil will have settled. Remove weeds, rake lightly and level. Mark out into areas 1 yd2.

Buy general purpose lawn seed. Put 2 oz. in a matchbox. Scatter over 1 yd2. Do not exceed this rate. Repeat process over next square yard.

Rake seed into soil lightly drawing towards you with one hand while scattering sand over the seed with the other hand. Do not water.

23. August 2011 by admin
Categories: 2 Hour Garden, Gardening Ideas | Tags: , | Comments Off on Two Hour Gardening Project: Stage 14

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