I have to admit that as I walk the garden, I see signs of fall arriving. There is dew on the ground and I don’t need to water as often. I have this urge to think about fall colour for the garden. I want desperately to pull out summer flowers and add some pansies or mums for fall colour. As I drive by garden centers I feel myself anxiously waiting for the sign our front to say ‘fall mums and pansies have arrived’. There is so much to do before I even think about planting for fall. Did I have enough spring bulbs last year? No, I was lacking Tulips in the back garden. The ones that did bloom were very late so I should add some early blooming spring bulbs there.
Do I need to divide the Primula to give a better spring show? Yes, I do. This is the best time to do it as the weather cools down. I could divide them and place them all over the garden. Primula are great companions for spring bulbs. They like a moist soil with some shade. I find that they do well under my large deciduous trees as long as they get some protection from the warm afternoon sun. They are so easy to divide. Just dig up a clump and use your fingers to gently tease the roots apart. Plant each division and water well until established.
As August comes to a close, the garden centers will be receiving their shipments of spring bulbs. There is so much to choose from. What do you plant? Everyone loves Narcissus or daffodils. They come in many different kinds so try some of each and add to your collection each year. You can find Narcissus that will bloom from February to the end of March.
How about some Tulips for the garden? I have to admit this is not my garden. Isn’t this a stunning combination? I took this photo when touring the tulip fields in La Connor, Washington. I love the way the Muscari or grape hyacinths are blended with the Tulips.
Bulbs are sold singly or in large bags like the one above. Buying a bag of 50 bulbs is probably the most economical way to buy them. Plant your bulbs in groups of five to seven bulbs per hole at the depth written on the package. Usually bulbs are planted three times their size deep. I find planting Tulips a bit deeper has them coming back for years.
Try planting some of the species Tulips. I used these in containers last year and absolutely loved them. Species Tulips will naturalize in your garden providing you with colour for years to come.
Species Tulips open up on sunny days and close up at night and on dark gloomy days. What I like about species Tulips is they often have up to five flowers on each stem. The bulbs are tiny and once planted you can easily plant some fall colour such as pansies over top. I tend to plant my fall and winter pansies where I have planted bulbs. Once the bulbs die down in spring I add annual colour.
So its time to clean up some of my summer containers and make notes of what did well and what I should plant next year. I will be removing some of the unhappy annual flowers to make room for spring bulbs. Many plants will bloom until first frost so make your changes slowly. We don’t want to rush summer away. The Zinnias, Dahlias and Marigolds will continue to bloom as long as they are kept deadheaded. Pinch off old yellowing leaves and finished blooms. This is the time to plan for whats next in the garden. Don’t you love the different seasons?