Tag Archives: spring

Sweet Pansies–a Bridge to Summer

pansiesSometimes it is hard to wait for spring and summer blooming flowers, but Pansies help to bridge the gap between winter and spring/summer’s abundance of blooms.

Pansies are hardy plants that can withstand the colder temperatures of early spring and late fall. They add excellent color into an otherwise dreary landscape.

In the language of flowers, Pansies are associated with loving thoughts, and as the Pansy is quite an old plant, can also be found in Greek legend. In the legend, all pansies were once white flowers, but after Cupid struck the flower with an arrow, the flowers became colorful. It was believed that the Pansy could be used in love potions.

Pansies come in a variety of colors, with their most distinctive feature being the “face” on the flower. They can be grown from seeds, but I buy some in early spring from the local nursery. Once they are planted in a partially shaded area, all you have to do is remember to water them and enjoy the bright color!

Happy Gardening!

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Rhododendrons

orangerodedendronRhododendrons are spring favorites because of their lavish blooms, and they do come in a variety of colors.

Despite their beautiful blooms, rhododendrons are associated with danger in the language of flowers. I know; you’re probably asking why such a gorgeous plant could be correlated with danger.

The answer is quite simple, really. Rhododendrons are poisonous if ingested, and even kill people who eat honey harvested from bees who fed on the Rhododendron. They are also poisonous to grazing animals, so these aren’t the type of shrubs you want in a field or near a bee hive.

Nevertheless, rhododendrons are quite popular!

How to Grow

  • Pick a partially shady spot in your garden that is somewhat sheltered from the west wind.
  • Dig a shallow hole–you want the roots to be right at soil level or just slightly below. You don’t want the roots to rot.
  • Mix in a fertilizer, such as bone meal.
  • Place the plan in the hole and cover with soil.
  • Water and mulch.

Most varieties of rhododendrons will retain their leaves throughout the winter, providing some color in your garden year round.

Happy Gardening!

Forget-me-nots: an herb for a shady spot

forgetmenotForget-me-nots. or mouse ears,  are  perennial herbs that bloom in the spring.  They are excellent ground cover and make good border plants as well.

In the language of flowers, forget-me-nots do actually mean forget me not. It also represents hope, true love, remembrance, and memories.

Like most herbs, forget-me-nots have some medicinal uses, and the entire plant is used to make medicines for nosebleeds and lung complaints. I have never used it in these ways, and I would consult a physician before trying it.

How to Plant

  • Pick a shady spot in your garden at the end of summer.
  • Prepare the soil by adding in  a fertilizer, such as bone meal.
  • Scatter the seeds.
  • Water.

The seeds will settle in, and you will have this charming plant in the spring. Forget-me-nots are a bit wild and will reseed themselves with no help from you–but they may reseed anywhere in your shady garden. If you don’t like where they pop up the following year, simply move them to where you would like them to be.

Forget-me-nots are an easy plant to grow if you are just beginning and are not sure what to plant in a shady area. Best of all, deer don’t care for them! Forget-me-nots are ideal around walkways or edges of gardens.

Happy gardening!

 

Dwarf Weeping Cherry Trees

weepingDwarf weeping cheery trees are spectacular in the spring with an abundance of beautiful white or pink flowers. The shape of the tree adds beauty in your garden  throughout the year.

Although these are referred to as “dwarf”, they can still grow from 10 to 15 feet in height.

In the language of flowers, cherry blossoms mean spirituality and beauty. A cherry tree in general means good education! I have no idea why, but I’m ok with it.

How to Plant

  • Pick a sunny spot in your garden.
  • Dig a hole as deep and as twice as wide as the root ball of the tree.
  • Mix in fertilizer. ( I used bone meal.)
  • Place the tree in the hole and fill with dirt about halfway.
  • Water and let the soil settle.
  • Fill in the remaining dirt and water.
  • Prune only as needed in late winter or early spring to remove dead branches.

Honestly, I love our weeping cherry tree! This tree has become extremely popular, so if you see one at a nursery, grab it! It won’t be there very long.

Happy gardening!

 

Daffodils: A Perennial Favorite

Image“And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.” ~William Wordsworth

Sunny, cheerful daffodils are hardy bulbs that add a wonderful dash of color to the spring garden!

In the language of flowers, daffodils have several meanings:

  • unrequited love
  • regard
  • you’re the only one
  • chivalry

Because daffodils are closely associated with Easter, they also represent re-birth. Daffodils hold different meanings in different parts of the world. For instance, in China, they mean good fortune; in France, they mean hope.

How to Plant them

You’ll want to plant daffodil bulbs in the fall about 2-4 weeks before the first frost.

  • Pick a spot in your garden that receives full sun or part shade.
  • For zone 5, you will need at least 3 inches of soil above the bulb, but a good rule of thumb is to plant the bulb as deep as its own depth.
  • Mix a fertilizer (I use bone meal) into the soil.
  • Place the bulb in and cover with dirt. Water.
  • Daffodils like to be spaced apart about 3 to 6 inches, and often gardeners will grow these in large groupings.

The Benefits of Daffodils

  • Deer and other critters don’t much care for daffodils since they are part of the narcissus family.
  • They make excellent cut flowers
  • They are a perennial–so they will come back year after year

P. Allen Smith’s Daffodils 101 offers excellent advice about daffodils if you are looking for more information. Daffodils are s beautiful edition to any garden, and the bulbs spread over time!

If you would really like to have daffodils this spring but didn’t plant the bulbs, you may force your own bulbs inside or purchase forced bulbs at grocery stores and nurseries. I do purchase a few forced daffodils every year for window boxes and then move the bulbs to the garden.

Happy Planting!

Hyacinth: A Fragrance to Treasure

hyacinths2Of all the spring bulbs, hyacinths are my favorite. I love their shape and wonderful scent!

The hyacinth has been around for quite a while. In fact, you may still purchase varieties from the 1800s. Legend has it that the Greek gods Apollo and Zephyr adored and fought over a young Greek boy. In a jealous rage, Zephyr accidentally killed the boy, and Apollo named the flower that arose from the boy’s blood the hyacinth.

What does it mean?
In the language of flowers, hyacinths have several meanings, but being associated with Apollo, they generally represent games and sports.

  • blue hyacinth: constancy, sincerity
  • red or pink hyacinth: playful nature
  • purple hyacinth: apology or sorrow
  • white hyacinth: beauty and loveliness

Whichever color you choose, the hyacinth is a lovely compliment to any garden.

How to plant hyacinth bulbs

Pick a spot in full sun or partial shade and plant 4 to  6 weeks before the first fall frost.

  • Dig a hole 4 inches deep, or if you are in the north, 6-8 inches deep. Keep the holes spaced about 3 inches apart.
  • Add a little bone meal and mix it with the dirt.
  • Set the bulb in the hole with the pointy end up.
  • Cover with dirt.
  • If the fall is dry, water.

After the hyacinth blooms in the spring, you may cut back the flower stalk but let the leaves wither naturally before removing them.

If you forgot to plant hyacinth bulbs but would really like some, you may purchase forced hyacinth bulbs almost anywhere in the spring. Grocery stores, florists, and nurseries will have forced bulbs for sale. Every year, I buy several more of these. I love the smell in the house, and when they are done blooming, I plant the bulbs in my garden.  Of course, if you have the bulbs, you may force the hyacinth to bloom in the house.

Although rare, hyacinth poisoning can happen if ingested. Keep the bulbs away from young children and animals to be safe.

Hyacinths will return year after year and keep providing an incredible fragrance.

Happy planting!