Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Helpful Tips On Bulbs For Inexperienced Gardeners

By Kent Higgins

Spring Flowering Bulbs

The last of the late flowering bulbs made their exit in May. Many inexperienced gardeners remove the yellowing or unsightly foliage. The bulbs from which these plants grow are specialized organs that store the food manufactured by the leaves. If the foliage is removed this important function is lost. Not only is this food important to next years flower production, but without it the exhausted bulb cannot produce new bulbs through division.

Foliage should be left on the plants until it dries up of its own accord. Even after flowers are through, watering is essential if the bulbs are to cure properly.

Plant Labels

In this day of plant specialization the identification of plants is very important. There are many different kinds of labels available. The label should be as permanent as possible and be lettered lightly. The method of attachment should be such that there can be no mistake as to what plant is meant. Information other than just names may be put on the labels. For instance in labeling roses it would be wise to indicate the color class (dark red, red blend, etc.). This helps immeasurably when hurriedly cutting for a show as it will save a great deal of time getting the specimens entered. If you visit other gardens to observe new varieties being tested, the labels will prove invaluable. In this gardening world today practically no one is interested in plants unless they know the name of the variety. There is no time like the present to begin labeling the plants in your garden.

Summer Bulbs

June is the last call for many summer bulbs such as canna, caladium, tigridias, nerine lilies, and gladiolus. If these can be obtained as potted or pre-started plants, particularly canna and caladium, the chances for success are better. These plants actually are all semi-tropical and grow better after the soil and air are evenly warm. Continue to plant dahlias for a source of late color in the garden. It is still possible to get dahlia flowers from seeds started this month. Many gardeners prefer the new hybrids because their smaller size makes them much more in scale for indoor use.

Insects Control

The bag worms will make their annual bid for the garden in June. These pests devour the foliage from many plants and trees, mostly conifers, and especially arbor-vitae. The control is Sevin or natural neem oil in spray form with soap or a sticker to make it adhere to the plant. Bagworms appear as small black worms (caterpillars) carrying a webby pouch with them. As they mature the bag is fastened to a twig and the life cycle is completed as the pupa inside this bag. Another pest appearing now is the lace wing bug, especially on pyracantha. They are rather small winged bugs with a very decorative wing pattern. As they are sucking insects, a contact insecticide is required. Malathion will do the trick on them.

Garden Lights

June is the first month when evenings are warm enough to enjoy the garden landscape at night. Check into installing solar landscape lights to dramatize your garden. In lighting, select only certain areas to light completely and subdue other areas with partial lighting. If permanent lights are not possible there are many styles of portable lights that can be used. Do not overlook the value of these for working in the garden in late evening.

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