Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I get email letters from White Flower Farm in Connecticut often. The last one arrived with this article. I thought it was VERY appropriate for all of us right now when we might be thinking of potting up some Paper-whites. The directions are clear and concise. Enjoy!

"When your Paper-whites arrive, open the bags right away to allow air to reach the bulbs. You can either pot them immediately or store them in a dark place at room temperature for 4-6 weeks. If you receive a bag of 24 bulbs, consider potting 6-12 bulbs at 2- to 4-week intervals for a staggered display. Bulbs generally bloom 4-6 weeks after potting.

After planting in a pot or one of our soil-less kits, set your Paper-whites in a cool place (50-60°F is ideal) away from direct sunlight. Check the bulbs frequently and water thoroughly when the potting mix is dry 1 inch below the surface (but not more than once a week until the bulbs begin active growth), or when the water level is more than an inch below the stones in a vase.

If your bulbs are in a bowl (or a pot without a drainage hole), water with extra care: Bulbs sitting in soggy potting mix soon rot. Once a week, tug gently on the bulbs to see if they have begun to product roots. When your tug meets with firm resistance (usually about 3 weeks after potting), move the container to a sunny window. Keep a close eye on watering. Bulbs in active growth can dry out in just a day or two.

Our indoor spring bulb collections arrive potted, with a layer of protective Spanish Moss on top. Cut and remove the rubber band that holds the Spanish Moss in place. You may discard the Moss, or use it as a decorative element (as the bulbs grow, rearrange the Moss so that it does not become tangled in the foliage). Bulbs usually begin blooming in 4-5 weeks.

Place the pot where it will receive 6-8 hours of direct sun every day and water when the potting mix is dry to the touch. It’s a good idea to remove the pot from its basket before watering.

A cool room with daytime temperatures below 70°F and nighttime temperatures about 50-55°F, such as is found near a window, is ideal for our indoor bulb collections. Please note that the growth of the bulbs will be slower in a cooler part of the house. Warmer temperatures may speed growth, but can result in weaker flowering stems."

Friday, October 02, 2009



You can still plant spring bulbs.

Scatter a slow-release fertilizer (formulated especially for bulbs) on top of the soil after planting the bulbs. Remember to scatter this fertilizer over other beds of bulbs as well.

If you have gladiolus, this is the time to dig the corms up.

This is a wonderful time to fertilize both lawn and garden

Plant cool and warm-season lawns

Move worm bins to basement or garage to maintain at least 40* through the winter months

Divide a clump of chives and bring indoors

If you haven't lifted your dahlias yet, this would be the time!

Bring any plants that are growing in containers inside for the
winter. If they are hardy enough to remain outside all winter, tip the pots on their sides so any accumulated water will drain out. Although they should be able to stand the temperatures, ice can definitely be a problem!

Be sure to bring clay pots inside so they don't freeze causing cracking.

Reduce feeding houseplants(do not feed dormant houseplants)

Give your compost pile a final turning.

Try to keep the fallen leaves raked off the lawn. Put them in
the compost, shredding them first if possible, or mix them really well as they tend to compact.

Be sure that you have removed any foliage from your Iris plants. This foliage, if not discarded, can harbor Iris Borers over the winter. You surely don't want to see them in the spring!

You can plant garlic now for next years harvest. It's the perfect time to order and plant them so they have time to begin growing roots before winter sets in.

Mark any perennials you want to separate so you can find them
next spring.

Clean and oil your tools so they won't rust over the winter.

Plant container and balled-and-burlapped trees, fruit trees, shrubs and vines.

Other trees can also be planted now.

Keep watering the shrubs and evergreens.

Plant container roses and prune your hybrid tea roses. Start preparing your roses for winter. They should be mulched when the ground begins to freeze.

If your roses had signs of black spot or other foliage diseases you should remove the the leaves so it doesn't recur again next year. Once a hard freeze has beaten down your garden, remove the leaves from the affected roses, as well as any mulch that might have remnants of those infected leaves, and throw it into the garbage (NOT the compost-you do not want to spread it throughout the garden next year). Bite the bullet and add new winter mulch.

Cut back your perennials and put the foliage in the compost as long is it's not diseased. If there is green at the base, leave about 4-5 inches of leaves.

Try to leave about 4 inches of stem on the lilies you cut back. In the spring, they appear rather late. By leaving some of the stem, you'll know where they are hiding in the garden!

Leave the ornamental grasses. They look quite attractive in the winter garden.

Sow seeds for frost-tolerant perennials

Try using evergreen boughs over your shrubs to provide winter
protection. They can be forced into the ground before the ground freezes, draping their branches over the shrubs.

You can of course, also protect evergreens with burlap barriers. Do NOT use plastic!

Pull out your annuals and put them in the compost

It's time to store your hoses inside. Remember to drain them first
so they don't freeze and split!

Bring in any annual geraniums! Potted, in a sunny spot they will bloom all winter. Or hang them upside down (with the dirt removed) in a cool spot like the garage, or basement.

Get those bird feeders up! Be sure you have cleaned them first!