Planting time of tullips
Tulips should be planted before frost hardens the ground. Planting time usually extends from October 1 to the middle of November. In warmer climates planting should be delayed until Thanksgiving or even later.
Preparation of soil and planting
There are at least two methods of planting that have given real satisfaction. The first is to dig the area over a few days before planting so that the soil may settle. Tulips like a place in the sun in a rich loamy, welldrained soil. Some thoroughly decayed farmyard manure or other prepared compost should be dug in deeply. Manure should never be in contact with the bulbs. A dressing of bonemeal or superphosphate (15 lbs. to 1000 sq. ft.) mixed into the surface after digging is beneficial. The best method of planting is to take out the top 5 inches of soil and set it to one side. Dig manure or compost into the area below to a depth of 6-8 inches. Level the surface with a rake after sprinkling bonemeal or superphosphate. On this surface set the bulbs from 5-6 inches apart and cover with the top soil that was originally removed. If tulips were grown last year in the same area it will be a precaution against disease if fresh soil is used for covering. For large plantings the surface area should be raked level and the bulbs laid out, beginning in the middle and working towards the edge by using boards to assure a level surface. The distance between bulbs may be from 5-6 inche's depending on the ground planting that can be done in spring when the tulips have broken the surface. Planting of the bulbs will start from the outer edge of the area, working in to the center, still using boards. A garden trowel is better than a dibble for planting as with the latter, pockets may be left below the base of the bulb. Plant 5-6 inches deep.
Winter care of tullips
In many regions tulips need no further protection during winter but if a mulch is considered necessary it should be withheld until the surface soil is frozen solid. Mice may shelter under the mulch and when the soil is not frozen they could reach the bulbs which are a particular delicacy to them. Moles tunnel in loose soil and the mice follow in their trail; more tulips are lost by the ravages of mice than from any other cause. If doubtful about their existence, poison bait may be laid in drain tiles so that birds do not take it and placed where the mice are likely to reach it.
The care from late March until flowering time consists of assuring adequate supplies of water. Although in most regions it seems ridiculous to many of us to use a sprinkler so early in the year, yet tulips may suffer from lack of sufficient water. This is the case especially in sandy soil.
When flowers are not used as cut flowers they should be removed from the stems before the petals drop. In order to use the some ground for summer annuals the plants may be lifted towards the end of May and in some spare land the bulbous parts should be lined out and covered in a shallow furrow, taking great care not to break the brittle stems. In three weeks the leaves will have disappeared when the bulbs should be lifted and spread out in a shady but airy place to dry. Soon they will be ready to clean and store away for summer and for planting the following fall. Summer storage conditions should be dry and airy. If tulip bulbs are handled in this way, they can last for several years but you should order some new bulbs each year for best results. Insist on imported Holland bulbs at all times.
There is a selection of species varieties for every garden and enough kinds to insure a flowering season from early April to the middle of May. Their cultural demands are simple because they will grow in almost any soil that has good drainage and sunlight. These botanical tulips with their short stems and vivid colorings are choice subjects for the rock garden or the front of the border. Plant October-November about four to five inches deep.
One of the better known species is Tulipa Kaufmanniana, the water-lily tulip, flowering in April. Some fine hybrids that have been developed include the varieties Caesar Franck, Scarlet Elegance, Gaiety, Elliot, Gluck and Vivaldi. If you want most brilliant scarlet, use Fosteriana and its varieties Princeps and Red Emperor.
Tulip Eichleri is a magnificent species flowering in late April. Praestans Fusilier, a multi-flowered variety in brilliant orange-scarlet, strikes a gay note in any border or rock garden.
Excellent daffodils can be produced in any well-drained soil and in almost any part of the United States and Canada. They can be in heavy clay as well as in a sandy soil. They do require ample supplies of water during the growing season. It will be wise to incorporate quantities of humus in the soil since humus has the capacity to retain, moisture.
Flower placement in the garden
Daffodils (or Narcissus) are steadily gaining in favor with the gardener. Few flowers can be so delightful especially when planted and growing without any sense of formality. This is exactly what we mean by "naturalizing." A little strip of land where the grass need not be cut until the daffodil foliage begins to yellow can be planted with them; or a woodland that is not densely enclosed with branches, but where the rays of the sun permeate at some time of the day to all its parts, makes the ideal background. This is the setting where daffodils can spring up in drifts of sheer elegance. To get the ideal effect whites should be blended with the yellows. Splashes of red cups will complete the picture. Where the area is small the bulbs may be mixed before planting but in a spacious range it is-better to scatter the varieties separately so that the blending and naturalistic effect will be enhanced. While each variety will have its own place, yet a good planting will be so interwoven that they appear completely natural.
A good procedure to follow is to transfer each variety separately into a basket from which they may easily be grasped in handfuls and scattered over the area chosen as if they were seeds being sown. All of them should be planted where they fall. Naturalized plantings cannot easily be lifted and replanted and in time will show signs of deterioration. But they will continue in lusty: growth for many years if a light dressing of bonemeal is applied in the fall and again towards the end of March. It is important, too, that a wise selection of varieties be made for naturalizing. A few of the recommended varieties are: King Alfred, Dawson City, Mrs. E. H. Krelage, Carlton, Scarlet Elegance, John Evelyn, Lady Moore and poeticus Actaea.
The Poeticus types and jonquils are best for planting by the wetter's edge, and it will be here where success with the old Narcissus recurvus and the double Snow Sprite will be assured.
There are many places in the garden where daffodils will be a welcome source of brightness in the colder days of April. They can be grown. in clumps of 10-25 in the perennial border or in beds with such other Spring flowers as hyacinths and muscari. They are not adapted to formal straight line planting. As with tulips, daffodils will repay handsomely when planted in good soil. In order to obtain the largest size in flowers, we should prepare the soil immediately below the point where the base of the bulb is to be at planting time. That means the spading out of the top 5-6 inches of soil. Below this, rotted manure or compost. should be dug in to a depth of 6-8 inches, taking care that the manure is not in direct contact with the bulbs. Level the surface with a rake after sprinkling it with bonemeal or superphosphate. On this surface set the bulbs 4-6 inches apart according to their size, it will be found that there is a distinct difference in the size of the bulbs of different varieties. Cover with the top soil that was originally removed.
If at the time of planting the soil is dry, it is helpful to give a thorough soaking of water. Daffodil bulbs should be in the soil in September or end of October at the latest; the soil should be damp so that root growth starts immediately. In warm regions it may be necessary for, best results to water during the winter.
Winter and spring care
Wait until the ground is frozen before a protective covering of leaves, hay or straw of about 2 inches in depth is applied. This will obviate any damage by breaking of roots which is sure to happen if the soil is subjected to intermittent freezing and thawing. It is usually the first winter after planting that frost damage occurs. Naturalized bulbs set where there is already a sod are not as likely to be frozen.
The covering should be removed about a month before flowering date and a light dressing of a well-balanced fertilizer cultivated into the surface and watered in will increase the size of the blooms. An ample supply of water at all times is important.
Old flowers should be picked off and the plants should be kept free of weeds if in the garden, where they can be cultivated. When the leaves begin to turn yellow they may be cut away. If it is desired to mow the area where the naturalized bulbs grow, this can be done at the same time. Bulbs in the border are better lifted every two or three years when the leaves turn yellow. Dry them in as shady, airy and dry a location as possible, spreading them thinly until planting time when the best bulbs may be selected for. special plantings and the smaller ones lined out in -the cutting garden.
Like tulips, hyacinths are suited for planting in beds or borders and have a simple culture. Massed plantings are exceptionally impressive. Their fragrance and pleasing colors make them most desirable.
Hyacinths require thoroughly drained soil. Begin preparing it by digging, in decayed leafmold, old farmyard manure or other compost and thoroughly break the soil as the work progresses. They should be planted in October-November, A-6 inches apart, 5-6 inches deep. In colder regions it is wise to mulch after the soil has become frozen.
When the leaves show signs of yellowing in early June, these hardy bulbs may be lifted. They should be stored in a cool, airy place until planting time comes round. Hyacinths may be planted in irregular fashion under old fruit trees where they may be left year after year, to be renewed from time to time with fresh bulbs.
The minor bulbs
Snowdrops are the first spring flowers in many of North America's temperate region gardens. In normal seasons they put in an appearance about the first of March. The common snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is well known ;a some gardeners. There is also a double-flowered variety.
Snowdrops should be planted as soon as bulbs are procurable in early fall. Find a place for them near hemlock or yew or, in fact, wherever they are not likely to be disturbed for years. Plant about three inches deep.
The words Crocus and Spring are to many gardeners synonymous. Some of the species such as Sieberi, Susianus and Tomasinianus are recornmended to the gardener, as well as such favorites as chrysanthus Moonlight; Snow Bunting; Large Worley White; E. A. Bowles, soft yellow; vernus Vanguard; and Tomasinianus Whitewell Purple. Plant also the common Dutch garden crocuses in their various shades of yellow, purple and white in the fall, in small groups in your garden or they may be naturalized in quantity on banks and by paths or driveways. Plant three inches deep. They will give you spring beauty for many years.
The scillas, squills or bulbous bluebells are universal favorites. Scilla sibirica and the improved Spring Beauty are Prussian blue and in early April can paint the landscape with color. They are charming with such yellow flowering shrubs as forsythia or corylopsis, and seed freely where not disturbed. Scillas should be planted three inches deep.
The English bluebell, reaching to about one foot, flowers in May and is effective with tulips or in drifts in light woodlands. There are also pink and white flowered varieties available. Scilla campanulata is similar in every way except that it grows much taller, to twenty inches, and the leaves are wider. It does well in warm climates; both should be planted about four inches deep.
Flowering at the same time as Scilla sibirica a and Dutch crocuses are the Chionodoxas or Glory of the Snow of which Chionodoxci Luciliae and Sardensis are the best known. These types have bright blue flowers with white centers and there are also white and pink forms. These are excellent for the rock garden or in any soil that does not become too dry. Plant in the fall, setting them about three inches deep.
The Muscari, or grape hyacinths are becoming more popular. Indeed, one's heart warms to them more quickly than to most of our minor fallplanted bulbs. They are at home in an average loamy soil and flower towards the end of April. Like most bulbs they seem to prefer the slightest shade to a full exposure to the sun. Plant grape hyacinths in October, setting the bulbs in clumps about four inches deep. Muscari armeniacurn can be recommended, a distinct improvement over Muscari botryoides Heavenly Blue.
Fritillaria is a group of curious rather than colorful plants flowering in spring. They are, however, the kind of plants that quickly draw attention when growing in the mixed border. They should be planted five inches deep in a good, rich loam. Stagnant moisture or extreme drought are undesirable. Plant as early as possible in the fall. Fritillaria imperialis (Crown Imperial) grows to a height of four feet. The lower half of the stem is clothed with leaves, the upper part being bare with a whorl of leaves at the top from which hang the purplish or yellow-red flowers.
Fritillaria meleagris (Checkered lily or Guinea-hen Flower) grows one foot high and is marbled with reddish-purple on a dull white ground.