Gung Hoe Gardener: Time to Clean Out the Garden and Plant Bulbs Print

 alt

Sep. 25, 2013:  September is a quiet time in the garden. You should be cleaning up plants that are finished for the season. Daylilies and hostas are the first that come to mind. 

With the dry, hot weather we have had this summer, many plants are unsightly. Use your fingers to comb through the daylilies and remove the dead leaves; in some cases there will not be much of the plant remaining--this is ok.  If your hostas are turning brown, remove the dead leaves and the flower stem or cut them down and clean up the area.

Now that this is done, pull out your bulb catalogues. I recommend John Scheepers, which can also be found online. You can plant your bulbs anytime through the end of November, as long as the ground does not freeze. 

Be creative this year. Daffodils are tried and true, but you may already have enough of these. Try alliums or Leucojum for a change. I stay away from tulips because they usually bloom only the first year, they are smaller the second year, and then they peter out and stop blooming. Deer, squirrels, and bunnies also love tulips.

When planting your bulbs, refer to the instructions that come with them for depth, and plant them in groups.  Never plant bulbs individually. Dig a hole that will accommodate five or six bulbs, not touching, add a little bone meal, cover, and wait for a surprise in the spring.

Photo by N. Bower