Bulb Planting: A Pep Talk for Procrastinators

bag of bulbs I didn’t buy any flower bulbs this fall, but maybe you did. Maybe you bought armloads of them, lured in by the siren song of those pretty pictures on the bulb packages. And maybe many of those bulbs still haven’t gone into the ground. I know all about this, because I used to do the same thing, buying more bulbs than I could plant in a couple of weekends (at least the way I do it). Often I was still planting bulbs into December, which I can easily get away with here in Atlanta. Continue reading

Signs of the Season: Autumn Blooming Cherry

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Photo: wlcutler, via Flickr

The autumn flowering cherry (Prunus subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’) is such an innocuous little tree that the only time I’m likely to notice it is when it’s putting out a flush of bloom during the cold months. But when I see cherry blossoms in November, I know exactly what I’m looking at. A couple of years ago, I was in the north of England over Thanksgiving weekend. The weather was foggy, drizzly, dreary – yet, standing out through the mist was a glorious display of light pink blooms on bare branches. On such a gray day late in the fall, the flowers were a welcome surprise. Continue reading

Forcing Bulbs: Tipsy Paperwhites Don’t Fall Over

Photo: Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center

A friend of mine always says it wouldn’t seem like Thanksgiving without a pot of paperwhite narcissus in bloom. There’s definitely something magical about flower bulbs in general, but at this time of year, paperwhites become almost staggeringly precious for their ability to grow and bloom indoors. Watching a pot of the bulbs progress from day to day is a deep, private pleasure – from the first plump white roots to the lengthening stems, fattening buds, and, finally, the creamy white blooms. A vase of cut flowers, no matter how beautiful, can’t captivate and engage its audience this way. Not even close. Continue reading

The Last Mum of the Season

Chrysanthemum_pacificumChrysanthemum pacificum is such an unassuming little plant that you might fail to notice it at all for much of the gardening season. It has little in common with other garden mums, which tend to be tall, colorful, and floriferous. Instead, C. pacificum measures in at a compact eight to twelve inches tall. It has tiny, button-like blooms that somewhat resemble ageratums in form, though they’re bright gold in color. And it’s not going to stop traffic, that’s for sure. In general, I would say that C. pacificum has two big things going for it: gorgeous foliage and late-season bloom. Continue reading