Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Garden Tips: Storing Your Bulbs

I am of certain convinced that the greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel. ~Florence Nightingale

If you are in a cold climate with frost you'll need to store your non-hardy bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas or cannas. There are many ways gardeners store bulbs until they can be planted out in the spring. The main things they need are: dry, cool and dark. One easy method is to wrap each bulb, tuber or rhizome in newspaper and then store them in a cardboard box. Shoe boxes work great for this. Label the box, place the bulbs inside, packing loosely and put the lid back on. Store them in a dark closet or area in the basement where it remains cool.

Last winter some of my shrubs received horrible damage from chewing rabbits, where the years before they didn't. If you are in doubt wrap the young trees and the bottom of the shrubs with hardware cloth, chicken wire etc. this fall before the snow sets in.

Deer can also cause damage, and if you want to protect a tree or shrubs you will need to surround the trees and shrubs with a sturdy cage or wire fence--chicken wire won't be tough enough. Those bucks are very strong, and they can easily damage a small shrub or tree with their antlers. I've seen the damage to a few smaller pines my parents had in their yard.

If you are in Zone 5 or colder be cautious planting new perennials now. They should be planted and mulched heavily no later than 6 weeks before the hard frosts start.

Lastly, take a look at your landscape and gardens. Make notes of what you liked, didn't like, what did well, and what failed or didn't do as well as you liked. Consider if you want to add a new bed in the spring and start getting it ready now instead of waiting. The head start makes a big difference.

Growing and Caring for Grape Hyacinths:

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