Friday, September 16, 2005

Bulbs etc.

Nothing will eat a daffodil. They are the safest bulb you can plant in terms of critter resistance. Daffodils are toxic and moles, voles, squirrels, deer etc. will give them a wide berth. My mother drank water that daffodils had been in accidentally once when I was a kid. She didn't even drink that much, quickly realizing that it tasted weird. Within an hour she was hallucinating and thinking that she might need to go to the hospital. Anyway, they last forever. For good early winter color you can't beat Winter Aconite or Helleborus. I've seen both blooming in early to mid-February. Winter Aconite is a very small bulb and I'm not sure about critter resistance. It grew at an old house I lived in at Marietta, so it was probably planted a very long time ago, but was still going strong.

Winter Aconite

Helleborus or Lenten Rose

Tulips are nice, sometimes get eaten, but they also rapidly decline and have to be replaced every few years if you want them to look good and not straggly. They also don't like to get wet, so don't plant them in areas that you will likely water all summer. Snowdrops and crocus, along with Grape hyacinth (Dog-tooth violets) are favorites of moles, voles, chipmunks and squirrels. Sometimes they get eaten but if squirrels get them, they rebury them other places and forget about them, so in the spring, its always a nice little suprise to see how the squirrels have edited the landscaping. To deter pests from medium to large bulbs, bury a piece of chickenwire over the bulbs when you plant them. So when the critters dig down, they are thwarted by the wire.

I would like to try Fritillaria for next spring, but I'm not sure where to put them. They are kind of formal looking and I think need their own space.

A word about soil and composting and sand for Edwin: I'm not sure how big your backyard is, but they make very small composters, so I'm sure that there could be something that would work. Bring home all those leaves, peels, coffee grounds ets, mix them up every so often and you'll have good compost by Spring. You can add eggshells, but I usually crumble mine up and put them out for the birds. It is a source of calcium for them. Clay soil is a pain and unless you want to spend days double-digging your entire back yard and adding ammendments, just make sure to buy things that tolerate poorly drained soils and make the hole you plant in about three times bigger than what you are planting. That way, the roots will be healthy and strong by the time they grow out and hit a wall of clay.

I would save your sand until next year. Plant tomatoes in pots and add the sand to the soil mixture. Tomatoes love sandy, loamy soil. I don't know much about Russian Comfrey. Just a quick web search revealed that it likes full sun and cool conditions, so maybe the heat has stunted it? Dunno.

Okay, on tap for this weekend, weeding, digging out silver maples that are growing everywhere, and ripping out the stuff in the garden that is over. We'll see how much I


Anonymous Anonymous said...

ohh wonderful, wonderful iformation. i got a ton to say, but am at the end of my day/well so i ll add it all in at home over the weekend or next week. my my my, how wonderful to know a person that can actually make sense of all those books i pick up at borders every day at lunchtime. no wonder i mostly just look at the pictures and dream. i read a bit, but it all turns into jumping letters and i go back to page skimming.

3:02 PM  
Blogger meresy_g said...

I'll try to answer questions you have. I'm not some master gardner, just have learned a lot by trial and error...mostly error.

3:50 PM  

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