Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Early Blooms

Provident gardeners are now rewarded with early blooms - even earlier than usual this spring.
If you planted bulbs last fall you are enjoying now a cheery, colorful garden. Nothing says spring more than waves of yellow and blue flowers, seen in your garden everywhere. Best of all: many of these spring bulbs such as Scilla, Snow Drops and Daffodils naturalize and will bring more color into your garden in following years.

Blooming Parks
If you live in the Ottawa area visit Maple Lawn Garden on Richmond Road or Springfield Road in Rockcliffe (corner Mariposa) to find spectacular seas of blue Scilla.

Daffodils at Rockcliffe Park and the Rockeries
The pavilion and surrounding area has turned into a popular location for outdoor weddings. The Rockcliffe Rockeries has literally hundreds of thousands of Daffodil bulbs. The best time to view this display is now in April or early May, when flowering trees provide a burst of spring colour that complements the Daffodils.
Location: Rockcliffe Parkway, between Princess Avenue and Acacia Avenue, Ottawa

Fall Planting:
Mark your calendar for late August bulb purchasing and try to find bulb varieties of early and late bloomers and several heights. Plant them generously in wide groups. These bulbs are hardy to zone 3 and 4:

Galanthus (Snowdrop)
Hyacinthus (Hyacinth)
Muscari (Grape Hyacinth)
Narcissus (Daffodil)
Tulipa (Tulip)
Crocus (Crocus)
Scilla (Bluebell)

- Plant the bulbs in early October in well-prepared soil. Planting depth varies by the type of bulb (8cm deep for Crocus, 12 deep for Daffodils and Hyacinths, 15cm deep for Tulips).

- Cover with chicken wire to deter squirrels from eating your precious bulbs, water well and add another layer of soil or mulch.

- Fertilize plants immediately after their flowering ends generously with compost soil.

- Let th bulbs go dormant naturally. Important: Don't remove foliage after bloom.

- Plant groups of Achillea, Poppies, Euphorbia, Heliopsis, Lambs Ear, Purple Cone Flowers or blooming herbs between the bulb areas. They too don't to be watered and will cover the drying foliage of the spring bulbs

- Allow the bulbs to dry out (just quit watering) after the foliage begins to turn yellow. Most spring bulbs prefer dry soil during summer.

- Every three years: dig, divide and replant the bulbs when crowded.

My favorite early bloomer: Periwinkle
In shady gardens Periwinkle will strive, rewarding you with lots of dark green ground cover and blue flowers short after the last snow melted. They are not fussy with soil and spread themselves over the years.
Much nicer than boring brown lawn in spring - and less work!