Posts Tagged ‘bulbs’

Spring Really Is Closer Than It Seems

snow and wrapped plant

A Good Thing: Snow cover is a great insulator for garden perennials.

Before we know it, we are going to be complaining about the heat. Is that even possible? I have a faint memory of doing just that in the not so distant past. In the meantime, even though I am not a skier, I’m very happy to see those massive piles of snow, which are doing a great job of insulating the perennials in the garden. The snow doesn’t insulate as in keeping warm, it insulates by keeping plants (and soil) cold, and therefore dormant, so they don’t start growing, only to met with another icy blast.

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Missing: Snowdrops


Spring? What Spring? It’s the first day of spring, but you’d never know it. Normally we’d be seeing these little beauties popping up in our gardens, but with the freezing weather we’ve been enduring, our spring bulbs—like the snowdrops—have so far been no shows. Most gardeners, me included, are ready to tear their hair out with the long wait this year for some decent weather and signs of life. I’d even like a rainy day at this point. A warm one, preferably.

But there are signs that spring approaches, even if it’s not exactly on time: the snow is melting, the days are getting longer, and in the meantime, there are activities that can give us a little taste of spring. Visit Canada’s Garden Show, Canada Blooms, (which is on for three more days), for instance. Start some seeds, peruse a few catalogues. It won’t be long now. I’ll be checking every day to see my first snowdrop.

Bulb Planting: X Marks The Spot


The problem: remembering where you planted those bulbs last year. In the fall, your spring bulbs lie dormant and hidden underneath the soil, with no way of knowing where the heck they are. The sickening feeling of  having your shovel or spade pierce a bulb you’ve previously planted is one you want to avoid. Plus, you want to make sure you have spaced your bulbs around, so you have some spring colour everywhere.

One way of marking, is the traditional plant label. Every time you plant bulbs, add a label. This works in theory, but labels can get lost, or the words fade, so you might fail with this method. You also might not like labels sticking up all over your garden.

This is where the handy digital camera becomes part of your garden tool set. It’s great for documenting anything garden related. (I take pictures of all my plant tags on newly purchased plants, too). This year, I took pictures of the spots where I planted my bulbs: a quick snap of the package cardboard photo of the bulbs I’ve just planted, and I’ll never forget what I planted where. Remember to include some recognizable part of the garden when you take your ID shot. I made sure to get a large planter in my shot, to help me locate the bulbs. Next year when I’m adding to my bulb collection, I’ll have these pics to refer to, and know not to dig there.

Squirrel Kryptonite: Protect Bulbs With Acti-Sol Hen Manure


squirrel face looking into camera

“I believe the buffet is nearby?”

You’ve just spent a few hours digging and planting a few bags of spring bulbs, and up pops the bane of a gardener’s existence—the friendly neighbourhood squirrel—and treats your hard work like a cross between an Easter egg hunt and an all-you-can-eat buffet. Crocus bulbs are particularly at risk; to a squirrel they are extra tasty “Fun Size” bulbs. How do you combat this? Well, physical measures help. Covering your soil with stones, newspaper and mulch can be effective.

We recently tried an experiment with Acti-Sol Hen Manure, a product that purports to repel squirrels. We added it to the bulb planting hole and used a generous sprinkle of the granulated manure around the planting area. The squirrels don’t appear to like the scent, and have miraculously stayed away.

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