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Timeless Styles and Traditions

Planting Spring Bulbs and Chipmunks

IRIS

Last fall I got my new Iris bulbs in the mail.  I used a catalog order from Brecks.  A local online shop that imports bulbs directly from Holland.  Well it is just about time to see how well the flowers worked for me. I have had a garden of various types and sizes forever but I am always pleasantly surprised when the flowers return the next year. :-))

Iris is one of my favorite flowers.  I have a big bed in the front garden with a dark purple I rebloomer and some newer Iris in the new beds on the back from a local garden center.  I noticed my front bed Iris did not bloom as much this year and that is my own failure. I seem to let things go until I have no choice. I get involved in other things and as long as the flowers bloom each year I am content. Usually I let them go until I can’t stand it any more and then do a major overhaul. I truly admire well organized gardeners.

While Iris is a hardy and forgiving plant, they can grow and overgrow.  If you want fresh and new blooms every year, you must separate the bulbs to give them room to expand.  I did not do that and so we got few bloom this past year. Late summer early fall is the best time to separate your old plant as it allows the new roots to establish themselves before winter. So I will have to remember to actually separate the bed this year!!! As you can see the Irish I have is a gorgeous purple and it has a fantastic scent. I can’t let myself loose this flower.

How are you guys about organization and rules in your gardens? If you are a procastinator like myself any suggestions on how to overcome that tendency?

I ordered two Iris Violet Turner Reblooming.  Why the term rebloomer? Well, I never knew this years ago and just planted any Iris I fancied.  Some Iris actually will bloom twice in a year: late spring-early summer as usual but REbloomers flowers again in late summer or fall.  Just when you need a new beauty in the garden after the heavy blooming of the summer.

Brecks has a very nice catalog. It tells me where to plant, what zone I am in, how much sun, water, ground type, etc.  It also gives a nice description of the plant and if there are any special attributes. Like this specific Iris: the Violet /turner is known for its sweet perfume.  My other dark purple rebloomer has a great scent.

I will share with you how to plant these tubers- if they are not planted correctly they die.

An Iris is not a bulb as is a tulip.  It is called a rhizome. Additionally, A rhizome is not buried like a bulb.  The top of the rhizome must stay exposed to absorb the sunlight for the plant growth 

My friend Barb is a gardening expert. She says I must:

  • soak the rhizome in water before I plant.  It gives the plant a drink and also moistens the roots and makes it more malleable to plant
  • I have to plant it tow more. It can’t sit in the water too long  
  • Plant the rhizome on its side but on a bit of a hill; allowing the roots to hang down on the sides of the hill
  • Then scoop the soil up the sizes of the rhizome
  • Make sure the very top is exposed so the rhizome does not rot.  Make sure mulch is not placed on the top of the plant either.

Well, they are in the water soaking…hope we have a nice day tomorrow to plant them.  Update- I did plant them it is mid March now and I am waiting for signs of life. If the Iris work out, I’ll get more next year.

Daffodils

The only other bulb I grow in my garden are daffodils. We have a severe chipmunk infestation in our neighborhood. They love to eat flower bulbs . I planted over 50 tulips and crocus that slowly but surely disappeared over the years- none left at all now!

But I recently discovered they are candy to rodents and deer. So I found a list of flowers and bulbs I can grow with the little rascals.

An article in Southern Living lists bulbs that the rodents do not like so I’m away soon to get these:

  • llium (Allium sp.)
  • Crinum (Crinum sp.)
  • Dutch iris (Iris sp.)
  • Foxtail lily (Eremerus sp.)
  • Fritillary (Fritillaria sp.)
  • Glory-of-the-snow (Chionodoxa sp.)
  • Grape hyacinth (Muscari sp.)
  • Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)
  • Snowdrop (Galanthus sp.)
  • Snowflake (Leucojum sp.)
  • Spanish bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica)
  • Spring star flower (Ipheion uniflora)
  • Squill (Scilla sp.)
  • Star-of-Bethlehem (Ornithogallum umbellatum)
  • Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis)
for interest you could add twigs- they seem to withstand the crystal junk from the flower without issue

I love snow drop and do have a couple of Hyacinths but definitely will put more and more of these bulbls in my garden. I lost a bunch of lilies will have to look up foxtail lilies.

I am trying to still have some forbidden bulbs. Last fall I put tulips in a pot and I see them breaking thru the soil now. Smile

An Extra Tip

I did not know it before but I recently read that cut daffodils should not be placed in the same container or very near to other cut flowers.

“Enjoy vases of daffodils (aka narcissus) while they’re in bloom, but don’t combine daffodils with other cut flowers … the calcium oxalate crystals in daffodil sap will clog the stems of other blooming vase-mates, causing them to wilt.” See HERE.

I always put tulips alone in a vase, I like that look. However if I put in daffodils I will put some tree branches in the vase for an extra visual. There is a great plant a red or orange shrub dogwood, I first saw in Ireland. The branches of this plant make fantastic displays. I hope to find in a garden center near me. Must look for a place to plant- they get pretty big. I’ll research for dwarfs and let you know!

I harvest these Beautiful red canes in fall and winter. Use in displays year round. I had a large vase in the solarium with just these canes. They come in orange also but I preferred the wine color.


Thanks for listening.  What have you planted in your spring bulb section? Any advise or question on spring bulbs and chipmunks please send me a comment.

Talk soon; take good care

Dara

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