Category Archives: spring flowering

My bulbs are in bloom, April 2008.

I downloaded a free program called seashore that allows me to add watermarks to my photos on my MacBook so I can finally share them all with YOU! I have tons of things in bloom right now and am loving all the color.

This one is Muscari that usually comes up with the crocus in early spring. They come in so many colors but I just love the purple ones because they contrast with all the tulips so nicely!

As you know, for my birthday I got a number of plants and bulbs to enjoy! One of the plants I got was already in bloom, it is this Hydrangea shown at the right. It was actually forced into bloom earlier than it normally would so it is in a dormant state now but I enjoyed the beautiful color during my birthday!

This next one is a unique one that I got for my birthday. It is a Peruvian Daffodil, isn’t it elegant? It actually does not do well in frosty conditions like common daffodils. It is planted in pot indoors with my gladiolas where it is warm.

Here is another shot of my crocus. I got to enjoy white once, purple ones and a few that were white and purple. The flowers are gone now but I captured some photos to enjoy throughout the year.

This next one is a shot of some of the red tulips that came up under the trees in the front yard of the place we are renting. We didn’t plant these and they kind of seem like they are planted in clumps that are too dense, what do you think?

These are dutch hyacinth I planted in the fall. They smell wonderful and look great, I am thinking they were planted too deep since they haven’t grown too tall.

Just today some daffodils opened up and I haven’t had a chance to snap photos of them but I will soon. What kind of stuff do you have surfacing in your garden these days? Anything fun?

Woho… The crocus are in bloom!

Yellow Crocus

That means gardening fun is about to begin for us! The crocus blooms are a beautiful yellow and are quite cheerful. They are kind of short, like they were planted too deep but it still so great to see them even if they are short.

Do you have any early spring bulbs that are blooming yet? I hope so because I am dying for spring time!

box-of-personal-information.jpgSo, now that the ice is melting and the bulbs are blooming we are able to get into the large box of crap that was left behind by the people who lived here before us. Guess what we found? Personal documents and credit cards, can you believe that?

Teeni was just talking about how we all need to take steps to protect our personal information and then I find some poor schmucks personal information and a credit card just sitting in a box outside (that was buried in the snow) by the front door of the home we are renting.

Be responsible with your personal information guys! Shred documents that you no longer need so that nobody can obtain your info.. That way you are protected.

Once while we were living in an apartment complex we found a complete computer sitting by the trash can. We grabbed it thinking we could use parts off of it and realized it still had all this personal information on it.

The computer actually belonged to the apartment complex manager. It had the tenants personal information on it, rental contracts, notices etc.. We reported it and were furious.

Folks, if the personal information you are responsible for (yours or someone else’s) mistakenly gets into the wrong hands lives can be ruined. Be responsible and be careful!

Growing Calla Lilies

calla-lily.jpgI just rescued some potted calla lilies from the grocery store. They were in the discount section where we often find perfectly good plants that just need the right care. These particular calla lilies were forced to bloom for valentines day, since their blooming period had passed they were being discarded.

The great thing about bulbs, tubers and corms is that they usually will re-flower year after year when given the right growing conditions and care. Specifically calla lilies are grown from tubers and bloom in late spring and are considered “perennial bulbs” that will return year after year.

They are hardy in zones 9 & 10 and can be left in the ground between blooming seasons, in all other zones they will need to be dug up, dried and stored during the winter. Calla lilies don’t do well in frosty conditions and will often fail to return the next season if exposed to freezing temperatures.

The great thing about Calla lilies is that they can be grown as a houseplant easily. As houseplants they should be given a 2 to 3 month rest period without moisture once they bloom. Flowers will fade and can be cut back but the leaves will remain green until you reduce the amount of water given. Reducing the water after flowering will initate the 2 to 3 month rest period. After this time has passed they should be repotted and lightly watered until new growth appears.

If you prefer to grow your calla lilies outdoors you can start your in indoors in later winter and transplant them outdoors after your last frost in the spring, the calla lilies will grow and bloom through spring, summer and even fall but will need to be dug up, divided and stored during the winter if you aren’t in zones 9 or 10.

Growing Narcissus- Paperwhites

Today I deadheaded my paperwhites that I forced indoors this winter and I thought I would share some knowledge about growing these flowering bulbs with you today as an addition to my Gardening Reference Section on this site.

Paperwhites are part of the Narcissus family as are daffodils. Unlike most daffodils paperwhites are very fragrant and are a popular bulb that is often forced indoors. They take between 4 and 6 weeks to grow and begin blooming.

Paperwhites don’t require much space, can be planted in tight clumps in soil or rocks, don’t like to be over watered and do not require a chilling period to re bloom next growing season. They actually are not a good outdoor bulb if you live in a frosty location and this is why so many love to force them indoors.

If you want to enjoy paperwhites but live in an area that receives snow you can plant them indoors in a pot with soil or you can decoratively position the bulbs in a nice bowl or jar with some rocks. Paperwhites can be planted in tight clusters for a pretty effect. Like I said before they don’t mind crowding.

Most people will want their paperwhites to bloom indoors during the winter which is coincidentally the time when most bulbs recharge and grow roots for the coming growth season. Forcing paperwhite bulbs indoors will take much energy from the bulbs thus making blooming the following year difficult. It often takes two to three years before the forced bulbs will re bloom again and many people will simply toss their paperwhite bulbs after forcing.

Forcing Paperwhites Indoors-

To force your paperwhite bulbs simply plant them so the bulb top is level with the soil or other chosen growing medium, lightly water and then place the planted bulbs in a cool/ dark place (45 to 55 degrees is ideal) for about 2 weeks. This allows the roots time to develop before the rapid leaf and stem growth begins. Water lightly as needed and when you see that the stems and leaves have begun to emerge from the bulb (if you planted the bulb in rocks you will also be able to see that the roots have grown) you can relocate the planted bulb to a bright/ cool room and watch the beauty unfold!

Planting Paperwhites Outdoors-

Paperwhites are winter hardy outdoors ONLY in zones 8-10 (want to find your hardiness zone?), they are not really winter hardy like daffodils and since they don’t require a chilling period the frosty weather will often do much damage to these bulbs.

If you live in a warmer area where you can plant these outdoors you should do so in the fall. Plant your paperwhites in a location that gets full sun for most of the day and plant the bulbs about 3-4inches below the soil surface. When planted outdoors in the fall they will have the winter to develop hardy root systems and will surface in the spring to bloom.

Care during the dormant period-

Deadheading the spent flowers will help the bulb preserve energy for the next growing season but do not clip the leaves. Leaves should be allowed to die back naturally and photosynthesize (this is part of the recharging process of the bulb), when the leaves are all dead (about 6 weeks after flowering) they can only then be clipped or mowed. In poor soils or when in containers a high-phosphate fertilizer applied in the spring will help the bulb recharge for the next growing season.

Growing Paperwhites as Perennials Indoors in colder climates- 
If you want your paperwhites to come back year after year they need to be grown in soil and provided with ample “food”. If you are like me and live in a colder climate consider planting your paperwhites with another bulb or plant. This way you can allow your paperwhites to grow, die back and be undisturbed until they are ready to grow again. I planted mine in a pot with anemonies and added bone meal to the soil for added nutrients.

Sparaxis (harlequin flowers)

Sparaxis BulbSparaxis is also know as the harlequin flower. It has a “sword shaped” leaf and very pretty mixed colored flowers. These are said to do poorly when exposed to temperatures below 28 degrees F and they do require mulch or some protective bedding where they are planted.

Sparaxis should be kept relatively dry during it’s dormant period, watering should increase once growth surfaces. This bulb flowers in mid to late spring and does best in full sun-partial shade. I also found out that these can be used for xeriscaping because they are really drought-tolerant (don’t over water these). This plant will spread freely via the seedlings. This is also a good container plant and makes a very pretty cut flower.

People have said that this plant grows fast and gets very tall. If you plant these close together it will prevent them from bending and breaking or you can group these with a similar but strong stemmed plant, or provide stakes and tie the stems to them.

I can’t wait for mine to bloom!

Specific plant info:
Blooms from summer to spring, low water needs, drought tolerant, full afternoon sun, plant in the fall.