GARDENING BY RONELLA: Plan ahead for future gardening chores
by Ronella Stagner, Columnist
Apr 10, 2013 | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
April is the month when gardeners seem to come alive. The soil is warming, the early plants are coming up, flowers are blooming and it’s good to be alive. April is also the time when you must plan ahead for gardening chores because there seems more to do in the garden than we have time.

This is the time to fertilize your evergreens, which usually need an acid-type fertilizer. The exception is the yew or taxus and that evergreen needs 10-10-10. That is the reason you shouldn’t plant a rhododendron or azalea near a yew. As you know, the rhododendron family love acid and the yew won’t tolerate it. So much to remember.

Sometimes, I fear that I repeat some information too much. But I got a call from an old friend, Mrs. Cook, who told me how glad she was to read about the care of the Easter lilies that we get in pots each spring. So repeating some things is a good thing.

If you have been concerned about the brown on the leaves of your magnolia, never fear. Many times this happens because of a cold winter. Fertilize your magnolia with a special fertilizer, which you will find in your garden store. Also you will need to water your magnolia this summer during dry spells. Then all will be well with your magnolias.

Some of the newer daylilies need to be divided about every three to four years. If you plan to dig up the whole plant, wait till after the first bloom. You can, however, dig up a part of a clump with a sharp shovel.

If you have been thinking of buying a climbing rose, may I suggest my old favorite climber, Blaze. It is almost a perfect rose. It is extremely impervious to Japanese Beetles and black spot. Also it blooms profusely all season long. Since it is a very old rose, it is very inexpensive. You can’t ask much more from a climber. I had a friend once who planted them all around their dog pen because she thought it looked unsightly. It sure was a pretty sight.

Since tulips are blooming now, I want to tell you about a little trick I used. Once tulips have bloomed and the bloom is gone, the leaves begin to turn yellow but should never be cut back because that is the stage that the bulb is being fed for next year’s bloom. This is the method I used: I dug a trench in the back garden out of sight and dug up the tulips down past the roots and laid them in the trench, covering up all the bulb only. Once the leaves have dried up, dig up the bulbs, put them in a flat box and let they completely dry out in the sun. Then you can store them in that box or in a paper bag in a dry basement until next Thanksgiving when you can plant them again. Another method you can use with tulips is to plant them behind a perennial since the perennial will begin to come up about the time the tulip leaves are turning yellow and the perennial will hide the unsightly tulip leaves while they turn yellow and die back.

To have big, fluffy hyacinths each year, dig each bulb after the leaves have turned yellow and flopped over, put the bulb in a flat box and let them dry in the outdoors. Once they are dry, put the box in a dry basement or put the bulbs in a brown paper bag and store them until next October when you can plant them again. Remember to fertilize them as they come up each spring.

When your jonquils (narcissus or daffodils) are finished blooming and have turned yellow and fallen over, you can dig them up, separate them, and plant them wherever you want them. All you do to jonquils is plant them, cover them and forget them until they remind you by blooming in the spring. No weeding, no hoeing and no pruning. The thing I love most about daffodils is that nothing underground will eat them, not even voles. They must taste horrible because the squirrels will eat tulip bulbs in the same bed as daffodils but won’t touch the daffodils.

The trick to moving any bulb is to let them mature, bloom and finish feeding the bulb for next year. Then when they are yellowed and start drying up, then you can move them or cut back the tops.

I remember the joy my Ma experienced when she would walk all around the old yard and garden to see what was just coming up. When I am asked about the reason I love flowers and shrubs so much, I remember her talking to me as we went from place to place checking on her flowers and I know she passed on that love to me as a very small child and I often say a silent “thank you” to my dear Ma.

Thank you for your calls and the chats. My telephone number is 270-522-3632.
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