Category Archives: annuals

The True Harbinger of Spring: The Crocus

With all of the snow, it’s difficult to imagine; but, spring is coming! Keep an eye out for crocus and know that the end of winter is close.

Fabulous Flowers

crocusCrocus is the true harbinger of spring because it is the first perennial bulb to emerge after a long and brutal winter. For people who live in the upper area of zone 5, the sight of the first crocus is met with overwhelming relief–surely spring is eminent!

For this reason alone, the crocus bulb is worth planting. But there are other reasons, of course! The crocus bulb will spread, and they require very little care. In addition, deer mostly ignore the crocus. You can plant them and forget about them until they lift your spirits in late February or early March.

How to Plant Crocus Bulbs

  • Pick an area that is not too shady–this flower does need some sun!
  • Plant in the fall 6-8 weeks before the first frost.
  • Dig a hole 3-4 inches deep.
  • Work in fertilizer, such as bone meal.
  • Place the bulb pointy end up in the…

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Early Spring!

With groundhog Phil predicting an early spring, I’m anxious to get back out into the yard! But it is February still. What to do?

Here’s what I’m planning:

  • While no snow is in the yard, rake up those darn oak leaves! They just keep coming–we still have some leaves on trees.
  • Start planning! Purchase seeds and bulbs.
  • Get ready for pea planting in March! Last year the peas I grew in containers did fabulously well; they were delicious! I’m definitely going to be planting more peas in containers on March 17.
  • Imagine how you want your yard to look, and make a plan. This is vital for me because I will be hosting a rather large graduation party for my son in June, and it will be held outdoors.

So, how will you spend the early spring? Whatever you do, happy gardening!

 

Witch Hazel!!!!!

Almost a year since this post, and the Witch Hazel has big buds on it….I can hardly wait!

Here it is this year!!!! witchhazel

Fabulous Flowers

witchhazelA year ago, I swore I would not go through another winter without some hope of spring….and it came late (the last week of winter), but it came! The baby Witch Hazel bush is blooming! I’m so excited! It’s the first real splash of color in a drab world with spots of snow still hanging around the yard.

While this one is still a baby, I expect it will grow from a bush into the shape of fine tree as the years pass. Seeing this bloom, I’m convinced I need a few more–maybe in more colors.

The color of the Witch Hazel bush depends upon the time of year it blooms, but I’d take a late spring and a fall just to get a gorgeous red in there!

Some varieties have a strong perfume, but mine does not unless it is cut, and then the smell is slightly medicinal. Not…

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Can’t wait for spring? Force some Forsythia

forsythiaMarch is here, but spring is not. Our high temperature tomorrow will be 4 degrees. I cannot wait any longer, so I am bringing forsythia into the house to force it.

Forcing forsythia is really, really easy. 

  • Go outside and cut some branches.
  • Bring them inside and place them in a vase with water.
  • Wait for them to bloom!

Many gardeners will tell you to leave those branches in the garage for a few weeks first. I always skip that and bring them right into the house. By the end of the week, I have beautiful forsythia blooms!

Get out there and start cutting! If you don’t have a bush, this spring would be a great time to plant one!

Happy Gardening!

Here Comes Fall!

mymumFall begins tonight! I am sad to see the summer go, especially because it seems we didn’t really have a summer. It was too wet, too rainy, and too cool to count as summer. I feel cheated!

Nevertheless, it is time to prep for fall and winter if you have not already begun! Fall does offer an abundance of color with mums, hardy asters, pansies, and pumpkins.

How to Prep for Fall and Winter

  • Cut back summer perennials
  • Remove summer annuals
  • Mulch plants in well (I suggest really well! Given the winter forecast from the Farmer’s Almanac, I’m even going to buy some hay bales for fall decoration, and when it gets a bit cooler, I’m going to break apart the bales and place the hay over the more tender plants in my yard. Our roses barely survived last winter.)
  • Add some fall and early winter color: plant mums, hardy asters, and hardy pansies.
  • Rake up the leaves (when they fall!)

That’s pretty much all we are doing around here for fall and winter prep. I know some people do keep vegetable gardens outside during the winter, but the amount of snow we get makes that a bit untenable for us. I did move in some of my herbs, and I hope they will last the winter. We will see!

Happy Gardening!

King Tut Grass

tutKing Tut grass is an annual up here in zone 5, but I buy it every year because I love this plant! It is an evergreen, so it’s not really a grass, but it certainly looks like a graceful grass.

It can be planted in the ground or in a pot. My father plants his in the yard each year near his front porch. This year, I placed it in a pot with a slight roof overhang above to protect it a bit–I’m so glad I did! With all of the thunderstorms we’ve been having, it could have been damaged this year.

King Tut prefers a sunny to partially sunny area, and it loves water. It does have to be watered every day, unless rain handles it for you.

It can grow quite tall, so it can work to hide unsightly areas around the house.

I have mine planted with a canna, petunias, trailing petunias, and geraniums.  Sadly, it won’t winter over in the house, either, but it’s worth the five dollars I spend each summer!

Happy Gardening!

Lily of the Nile

lilyofthenileI love this plant! Lily of the Nile, or Agapanthus, is a perennial in some zones, but an annual in my zone.  While it is an annual, I cannot resist it!

This plant can be grown from bulbs or seeds, and I think the fragrant flowers are worth planting the bulbs and digging them up for the winter. Alternatively, you could plant your them in pots and bring the pots in during the winter.

About mid-summer to the fall, Lily of the Valley puts on an extravagant show of large blooms!

This plant likes the sun, so be sure to pick a sunny spot for your African Lily!

They do require a bit of work–they need to be fed monthly. But the gorgeous blooms and the scent will pay you back for your hard work!

Lily of the Valley is also attractive to bees and butterflies, who enjoy the nectar.

Happy Gardening!