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Author Topic: The gardening thread  (Read 33225 times)

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rva

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The gardening thread
« on: August 28, 2007, 02:27:15 PM »

I have this dry, steep bank where nothing will really grow.  I've come to the conclusion that the area is just too tricky for any sort of garden plan.  You just can't count on things to reliably live. There are plants there now, but they are plants that were supposed to go with other plants, only those other plants died.  So it's just random weird plants that don't go together.

So I've decided my new, simplified "plan" is this:  I'm just growing daisies.  I think if I plant enough of them, I can actually use them as a groundcover.   I'm just going to get like 30 Black-eyed Susans and 15 Shasta daisies and just mix them up randomly.  That way, if a plant dies it's easy to replace.  Maybe I'll toss in a Russian Sage somewhere to give me a blue, white, and yellow mix.  I'm going for sort of a casual, wild-flowery meadow sort of look.

What do you guys think?
« Last Edit: August 28, 2007, 02:31:54 PM by rva »
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cuddlyevil

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2007, 02:31:07 PM »

It sounds good to me. My MIL had something like that around her pool, she had blackeyed susans mixed with a bunch of low growing flowers and plants. She LOVES blackeyed susans, so low maintenance. 
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kcneon

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2007, 03:17:43 PM »

Sounds like it should work & would look really nice on a steep bank.  I keep thinking I'll experiment with some ground cover, but I never can get away from ice plants which is my fav because it reminds me of the beach.
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2007, 03:51:24 PM »

Yeah, I have some ice plant at the top of the bank.  I bought two of them this year. They're in about a 2 foot space where the bank hasn't gotten too steep yet, and also it's under the overhang of the porch roof.  When they came they were about 4" across now they've covered about 2-3 feet.  The only complaint I have is they haven't bloomed that well.  Still, I'll probably keep the ice plant around to fill out that top bit of the slope.

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MissKitty

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2007, 03:54:54 PM »

As long as the area gets a lot of sun you should be in business.

Why not throw in a few purple coneflowers too? They seem to thrive in the dry heat and look great among shasta daisies and black-eyed susans.

Have you tried spiderwort? They also like dry conditions and mine really thrived in poor soil - when it was moved to a new location it hasn't done as well, probably because the soil is too rich.
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2007, 04:38:11 PM »

I'm mulling over purple coneflower.  I like the color on the petals to go along with the yellow and white, but I've never liked the huge, fat middle part to the flower.  Still, I should probably toss at least one or two in there.
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cuddlyevil

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2007, 10:00:42 PM »

What about a butterfly bush? Or some astilbe or allium? You can still get the nice purple color but without the weird cone center (which I'm iffy on too, it's why I haven't had the guts to plant it in my yard yet).
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MissKitty

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2007, 01:52:16 PM »

When we moved to Newport we inherited a daffodil bed. I've never grown daffodils before and don't know a whole lot about them, but I'm learning.

I have a few questions and concerns about them before I replant them.

1. They didn't bloom this year because we had a real cold snap when they were in bud. I'm assuming that this didn't "kill" the bulb and that it will be ok next year. Is this a correct assumption?

2. I had to dig all the bulbs before the greens had finished dying back because we were getting ready to build the deck over the bed where the daffodils were located. I put them in a bucket with dirt and put them in the garage to finish dying back. Once the greens were brown and dry, I tore them off and cleaned the dirt from the bulbs and put them in a net bag. My question is - even though they were dug before the greens had died back, will the bulbs still be ok to replant?

3. How far down do the bulbs need to be planted? I've heard conflicting things about this - some say 6", some say at least 12". The bulbs I dug out of the bed were pretty deep, but I don't think they were a foot deep.

4. How far should the bulbs be spaced? I want them to be very dense, but not so dense as to choke them out.

5. I'd like to plant them in the ground in the next two weeks. Is that too early? Should I wait until October? And once the bulbs have been planted, do they need to be watered like regular plants or not?

Can anyone help?
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cuddlyevil

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2007, 02:15:11 PM »

MK, go here, they sell heirloom bulbs but the advice might be similar to what you're looking for. For daffodil specific help, scroll down the page a bit.
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2007, 03:41:12 PM »

All about daffodils (technically):

1)  All daffodils are not the same.  Technically, there are no less than 13 types of daffodils.  Some will rebloom every year and naturalize and spread.  Others will bloom well every other year, although you should still get some blooms every year.  Daffodils with small, multiple flowers that bloom early tend to be come up every year.  Mutant daffodils with huge showy flowers take longer.  They've been bred so that they expend their energy creating one huge awesome flower.

2)  The size of the bulb dictates how deep you need to plant them.  You might want to go 12" for the larger ones, and maybe as little as 3" for the small ones. 

3)  If you are awesome and have nothing to do with your time, you should dig them up every year.  Some daffodils could use a bit of mild refrigeration (away from your fruits and vegetables!), some don't need any.
If you have a cool dark place to store them, I'd just do that.  If not, a month of refrigeration is probably a good idea.

4)  Daffodils have slightly different spreads.  The size of the bulb should give you a general idea of how big the plant is.  A good rule of thumb is depth=width.  Another good rule of thumb is twice as deep as they are tall.  Another good rule of thumb is plant the bulb 3 times as deep as it's size.  Balance those three out.
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rva

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2007, 04:39:44 PM »

All about daffodils (in the real world):

If you know what kind of daffodils you got, then you would follow the instructions above exactly for your species.  This will insure the maximum bloom time (per plant), amount of blooms, and also make sure they all bloom at once so you get a nice show.  That's awesome if you're running a display garden and you just want a small formal cluster of all the same daffodil.  Most of us aren't running display gardens, don't have the time, and aren't that anal.  Also I personally hate formal settings. 

The real truth is, daffodils aren't all that fussy.  In fact, they're the easiest thing in the world to grow.  All the above shit is overkill.  And you probably don't know what kind you have, or you have a bunch of different kinds.  In reality, you can do one of two things:

1)  Play the odds.  Don't dig up all your bulbs.  Leave some in the ground.  The ones you dig up, refrigerate half of them and don't refrigerate the other half.  The ones you replant, plant some a bit deeper and some a bit more shallow.  Since each bulb is treated a little different, they'll respond differently.  Within the same species, some will bloom a little earlier and some a little later.  Between species, you'll at least insure that at least 1/4 of them will get the exact perfect treatment so you'll never have a disaster where you lose all your bulbs.  You will get a longer bloom time overall but you won't get the eye-popping flush.  Still, you should get enough to put on a decent show.

2)  Be a lazy-ass (aka naturalization).  Dig a trench/hole/ditch that covers the appropriate area.  Make it about six inches deep.  If it's not uniformly six inches deep, so much the better.  Ditto if the area ends up kinda blobby instead of a nice circle/square.  Grab enough bulbs to cover that area if you planted them 4-6 inches apart.  Put bulbs in a bag.  Shake it up.  Grab a bunch of bulbs and toss them into the hole.  Literally-- just toss them.  Keep tossing until area is covered.  Examine your spread.  If one area seems to lightly covered, you can move a few bulbs around.   If two bulbs are too close next to each other, you can space them out.  Just remember, it's a matter of aesthetics.  The bulbs could literally be touching and both plants will still grow.  Cover the area.  Then just leave the bulbs in the ground and never mess with them again.  Over the years, they'll just sort of naturally take care of themselves to get you a nice coverage and a meadow-type look. 

Bonus #2:  Mix in the daffodils with other bulbs.  If they're really small, you can do it layers.  Go 8" deep, toss in a few big bulbs.  Cover them up.  Now toss in your daffodils.  Cover them up.  Now toss in your anemones. 

Super-bonus #2.  Mix up all your bulbs and just chuck 'em all in at once.  Six inches is within the range of almost any normal bulb.  If some of the bulbs are particularly large, you can just push them in a little deeper. 

My method:  Most of the time, you aren't working with a totally pristine new bed.  For one thing, bulbs die to the ground so by the summer, you'll have nothing.  And for the later part of spring, you'll be stuck with dying, ugly leaves-- which you do NOT want to remove, the plant is purposely draining those leaves to store energy for next year. 

So anyway, you're probably working in and around perennials and shrubs.  What I do I just toss them on the ground first.  Then I plant them where they land using one of those bulb planting/auger attachments you can get for a hand drill.  Just drill a hole where the bulb lands and toss them in.  It also makes it easy mix different bulbs because you can easily adjust how far you drill the hole. 

And you can do it in different seasons.  Sure, every now and again you'll throw a bulb down exactly on top of another bulb and accidentally drill into one.  But that's just fate.  In the wild, those bulbs would have to duke it out for that space anyway so you're just replicating (kinda) mother nature.

The "plant 'em where they land" and "naturalization" strategy isn't just to save time.  I think it makes the area look a lot better, because daffodils need that sort of random-y setting.  I would not do this will something more formal like tulips.  But then, I wouldn't plant tulips because tulips suck and pretty much need to be replanted every year anyway.

Also:  I feel bad doing this, but I use OHG to read about bulbs and stuff and then order from Brent and Becky's.  They're like 1/2 the price, and the bulbs are just the same quality (awesome).  OHG will generally have a few things B and B don't, so they are worth checking out and ordering from just to support them, but I wouldn't try to you know, build the whole garden around them.

http://www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com/
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cuddlyevil

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2007, 04:43:07 PM »

http://www.brentandbeckysbulbs.com/

Okay, I'm in love with their crocus selection (and their prices).
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va-vacious

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2007, 06:09:10 PM »

On daffodils:
One of my coworkers gave me a HUGE container of bulbs this winter that had been under her deck for over a year. She had dug them up to move and never replanted them. I got them in February, and decided to try planting some of them (Some were starting to sprout).  In mid March I had blooms! Sure, they weren't the best (rather small) but to be in the ground for 6 weeks and still bloom was impressive!  I love daffodils for the reasons RVA mentioned above.  I still have half the container and will plant them this fall, scatter-shot.

On tulips:
They suck.
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MissKitty

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2007, 09:06:47 AM »

Well it sounds as though the bulbs I have will probably be ok then. I was afraid that the double-whammy of freezing while in bud and then being dug before the had died back might end up killing them, which in that case I'd be wasting my time in replanting them.

I already know where they are going to go, (and they are being mixed with the hyacinths that were also removed from the same bed) but I'm still not sure when to plant them.

Should I wait until the end of September to plant, or are they ok to go in the ground now?
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va-vacious

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Re: The gardening thread
« Reply #14 on: August 31, 2007, 10:58:52 AM »

Unexpert opinion, but I'd go ahead and plant them- that way they are in the ground now, rather than waiting a month and then having bad weather or forgetting for another season.  It might not be the best, but I don't think it would hurt them too badly.
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