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Show #8/1508
Spring Flowering Bulbs


13 Types of Daffodils
THERE ARE 13 DIFFERENT TYPES OF DAFFODILS as designated by the Royal Horticultural Society in England which is the governing body for the genus Narcissus or Daffodil as we call them. The Society has designated 13 different divisions or types of daffodils based on physical or genetic characteristics.

Click here for more info

Dividing Daffodils
Garden Smart receives numerous questions about Daffodils. MANY INQUIRE WHY THEIR DAFFODILS STOPPED BLOOMING OR THAT THEY'RE BLOOMING LESS FROM SEASON TO SEASON. Jason believes that the issue is probably overcrowding. Daffodils over time continue to multiply and increase. Some varieties are just prone to flowering less as there become more bulbs underground. The best way to remedy the problem is to lift them, divide them, then replant them in the fall. The bulbs will then increase in size over the next few years and should return to their original vigor. The best time to do that is 4 to 6 weeks after they've finished flowering or when the foliage begins to relax. Jason shows a clump that has very few flowers, the foliage is starting to fall down, thus an excellent time to go through and lift the bulbs. Jason uses a spade. He has chosen a spade instead of a fork as many do, because he finds when the fork is pulled back it may tend to cut into the bulbs. He goes several inches behind the clump and lightly pries up, trying not to damage the foliage. Lift them out of he ground, trying to keep foliage and roots intact. Shake off the soil and one clearly sees little bulbs which are a good indication of why the plant quit blooming. Simply pry the bulbs apart. They were just overcrowded.

Click here for more info

What To Do With The Foliage After Blooming
Another question often asked. WHAT TO DO WITH THE FOLIAGE AFTER BLOOMING, should one use a rubber band or cut it. Jason says, leave it alone, ignore it. The folding, cutting back, tying or breaking the foliage is the worst thing one can do for the long term health of the bulb. Admittedly the foliage is not going to look the most attractive as it declines. But to hide this fact plant annuals or perennials or other companion bulbs to fill in later in the season. Let the foliage die back on its own. You will have much better results in the long term with you display.

Click here for more info

Tulips
Daffodils are the star of the show in early to mid spring but they have some tough competition with Tulipia x Tulips. AT THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN THEY HAVE 45,000 NEW TULIPS PLANTED EACH YEAR. And there are many different types and colors. Here they treat Tulips as annuals. They tend not to perennialize well over the course of the summer. Plus, they irrigate too much and they may not choose the most perennial varieties. Importantly, it gives the horticulturists on staff the opportunity to change the palette and their designs every year which means they can then try new varieties. The home gardener can do the same thing. Tulips are not immune to deer and rabbits, another reason to encourage home gardeners to treat them as annual bulbs.

Click here for more info

Allium
ALLIUMS X IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BED. Allium is another great bulb in the collection and there are many different species of Alliums. Both Alliums and Tulips are excellent cut flower material for the home gardener who likes to take a little bit of the outdoors in and do some floral arranging. Not only are they a beautiful element in the garden but as a dried flower they'll last for many years.

Click here for more info

Bulbs That Deer And Rabbits Don't Like
We receive a lot of questions wanting to know about BULBS THAT AREN'T WILDLIFE FAVORITES, particularly deer and rabbits. Jason discusses several. Leucojum aestivum Summer Snowflake is a very nice plant. It blooms mid to late spring and is in the Amaryllis family. Any bulb in the Amaryllis family is poisonous so animals will not bother them. Typically there are excellent perennial varieties, as well. Under the shade of the tree, in a natural setting, one can see how this bulb can be useful in a woodland garden or a naturalized area that may be frequently grazed by rabbits and deer. Another variety is Spanish bluebell.

Click here for more info

Summer Bulbs
THESE ARE SUMMER BULBS. They're not hardy, they're from tropical, subtropical regions of the world, southern hemisphere or climates opposite ours. These cannot tolerate winter freezing, so they lift them up in the fall and bring them indoors for the wintertime. These particular varieties are evergreen. They need to be kept growing year round for the best success. As soon as the late frosts are over in the spring or as they're digging up Tulips and Hyacinths, which are treated as annuals, they put these outside in their place and they last outside summer through fall. Jason discusses several non hardy bulbs that he likes.

Click here for more info

Succession Planting
IT'S IMPORTANT TO PLAN FOR AS MUCH SUCCESSIVE INTEREST, COMPANIONSHIP between other plants whether from bulbs, trees, shrubs, perennials, etc. as possible. Jason wants the longest term display possible. They have a vast collection of bulbs that must be showcased outside all season long. So, getting them through their peaks and troughs of folial and floral interest just requires planning. Jason provides an example of extending the season. One bed has Grape Hyacinths and Crocuses, following that were the Daffodils, as the Daffodils started to decline the Lilium x Lilies came along. The Lilies are unique hardy bulbs, once they flower, they don't die back like spring flowering bulbs typically do. They just keep growing, they provide foliar interest from mid to late summer all the way into fall. Plus they have attractive foliage. This is an example of companion planting. Jason has planted several hardy bulbs that require the same situation, cultural requirements, in the same location, to provide successive interest spring through fall.

Click here for more info

 


LINKS:

Missouri Botanical Garden

Hotel Rooms, Rates & Reservations at Drury Hotels

Garden Smart Plant List



Complete transcript of the show.


From care and maintenance to planting bulbs for year round interest this show addresses it all. And one of the best places in the country to show off bulbs is the Missouri Botanical Garden, in St. Louis Missouri.
The Missouri Botanical Garden was opened in 1859 and is now one of the premier gardens in the world. But what isn't always known is that it is an internationally acclaimed research institution. But that's no surprise when finding out who is behind it all. That's Dr. Peter Raven, one of the most respected botanists in the world.
Dr. Raven grew up in San Francisco. He loved insects, plants and natural history from the time he was 7 or 8 years old. He went to the California Academy of Sciences as a student member and his first teaching job was at Stanford. He moved to St. Louis in 1971, over 30 years ago, and has had a wonderful time since growing the program, developing the gardens and building the research program.
It's a wonderful institution. When this garden opened there were 60,000 dried samples of plants for study, today there are about 6 million. Henry Shaw, the founder, bought the first samples in Germany in the 1850's and over the years they have added to them. Today they have one of the largest collections in the world and one of the best botanical libraries in the world as well, over 200,000 volumes.
Research has been important to this institution from the beginning. The parts of the world needing the most help today are tropical countries. In these, the populations are growing rapidly, levels of consumption are growing and species are disappearing. But we base our life on plants. Thus they try to concentrate in the Northern Andean countries of South America, East Africa and the island of Madagascar and Vietnam. Here they try to learn about plants and to educate people about them, give them the tools they need for understanding them themselves. Once they've done that, then they can apply that knowledge to conservation, to the development of new kinds of food and medicine and to the many uses, the many ways in which plants support us. So, they're trying to serve the world of plants and bring it to people's attention everywhere. Sustainability is the key and sustainability is based on plants. We need to be cognizant of not using up more than we need, not using up more than the earth can produce, so that future generations can live at least as well as we do.
Thus research flourishes here as do the gardens. And they are beautiful gardens.
Jason Delaney is the Senior Outdoor Horticulturist and out guide for this show. Jason believes his interest in horticulture started before birth. His mother says that 7 months before birth, he was planting Daffodils with her along the property line and it just grew into an obsession and passion from there. Starting during childhood and continuing to today he has been buying bulbs and breeding bulbs. He went to school for horticulture at Michigan State University, did his internship at Missouri Botanical Garden and has been here ever since.
Jason likes the fact that he's able to do what he's most passionate about as a full time career. The greatest opportunity here is to be able to plant these bulbs and grow the plants that he enjoys. Getting to hear the comments from the public as they walk around and being able to watch as they have so much enjoyment and take so much enjoyment from the collection and the displays they have here is rewarding.
He also enjoys the travel. He's gone around the world with his work; for symposia, lecturing, he has gone on plant collecting missions internationally and has been able to trial all the plants he loves on a professional basis.
Joe and Jason start the tour in the Samuels and Hickman Bulb Borders. When looking around one sees different Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinths from the spring display. In this collection they have over 1,000 different taxia of bulbs or geophilic plants. They range from very late winter blooming, starting in January or February, all the way through and until fall, with hardy and non-hardy bulbs. Included in the collection are 3 primary collections. They have Narcissus, Lilies and Amaryllis which are showcased throughout the year.
They have a staff of assistants, seasonal interns and, of course, the volunteers. The many volunteers are the backbone of this collection. They get the work done. They're here this morning cleaning up some of the Tulips and Daffodils getting the area ready for the opening at 9 AM.
With the exception of the very deep south Daffodils grow most everywhere. They grow from coast to coast, they're a long lived perennial bulbs and they tolerate soil conditions that vary from region to region. They're animal resistant which is one of their greatest plusses. They're affordable, they're available at most garden centers, and mail order catalogues which typically have a vast array of selections in the fall, every year. And, they're springtime favorites. One of the oldest cultivated plants in the world and for good reason.
Many think that Daffodils are fairly standard, if you've seen one you've seen them all. That's not the case. THERE ARE 13 DIFFERENT TYPES OF DAFFODILS as designated by the Royal Horticultural Society in England which is the governing body for the genus Narcissus or Daffodil as we call them. The Society has designated 13 different divisions or types of daffodils based on physical or genetic characteristics.
Jason shows several examples. Narcissus x Split corona Daffodil is a very good, showy type for the garden. The corona, or the cup, instead of being an entire piece is split for 1/3 or more of its length and it lays up against the petals. Narcissus x Double Daffodil or doubles tend to have multiple petal and coronal segments in any arrangement. Narcissus x Large Cup Daffodil is what most are familiar with. It is the most traditional style Daffodil. The corona is one unique piece that is at least half the length but less than the entire length of the petal. That's what sets it apart. Jason has a true Narcissus x Jonquil Daffodil, again one of the 13 different types of Daffodils. It is set apart by having multiple, very sweetly fragrant flowers to a stem. The stems are typically rounded, versus flattened or 2 sided as in some other Daffodils. The foliage is also very rounded, reed or rush like. They tend to bloom a little bit later than most Daffodils, so they carry the season well, lasting into the last few weeks of spring. Narcissus x Triandrus Daffodil is distinct because it has numerous flowers to a stem and they tend to hang downwards. Their petals reflex ever so slightly, giving good representation of the true species Narcissus x Triandrus.
The Daffodils at the Missouri Botanical Garden just received the American Daffodil Society's first ever award given to a public display garden in this nation. A very impressive award. They have over 650 different types of Daffodils ranging from historic varieties to contemporary varieties, including varieties yet to be named. They're still under trial. One of the varieties they're most proud of is the Narcissus x St. Louie. It was bred by a local Missouri hybridizer, it will be introduced this fall.
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Garden Smart receives numerous questions about Daffodils. MANY INQUIRE WHY THEIR DAFFODILS STOPPED BLOOMING OR THAT THEY'RE BLOOMING LESS FROM SEASON TO SEASON. Jason believes that the issue is probably overcrowding. Daffodils over time continue to multiply and increase. Some varieties are just prone to flowering less as there become more bulbs underground. The best way to remedy the problem is to lift them, divide them, then replant them in the fall. The bulbs will then increase in size over the next few years and should return to their original vigor. The best time to do that is 4 to 6 weeks after they've finished flowering or when the foliage begins to relax. Jason shows a clump that has very few flowers, the foliage is starting to fall down, thus an excellent time to go through and lift the bulbs. Jason uses a spade. He has chosen a spade instead of a fork as many do, because he finds when the fork is pulled back it may tend to cut into the bulbs. He goes several inches behind the clump and lightly pries up, trying not to damage the foliage. Lift them out of he ground, trying to keep foliage and roots intact. Shake off the soil and one clearly sees little bulbs which are a good indication of why the plant quit blooming. Simply pry the bulbs apart. They were just overcrowded. Take the bulbs, clean off the soil, separate the bulbs, store them in mesh bags, paper bags or cardboard boxes, put them in a basement or garage, a dark, dry and cool location for the summer. Then in the fall plant them again. Jason leaves the foliage and roots intact all summer. Later in the fall, around October before replanting, he will clean off all dead or dry material. Some might try to replant these bulbs right away but Jason advises against that. The plants have been stressed at this point by lifting them and even though it's going dormant it might have some injured foliage or roots. To put it back in the soil now during a moist spring, going into summer dormancy might make the bulb more prone to rot. So Jason believes it best to take them out of the ground, dry them off and replant them in the fall, just like new bulbs.
Top


Another question often asked. WHAT TO DO WITH THE FOLIAGE AFTER BLOOMING, should one use a rubber band or cut it. Jason says, leave it alone, ignore it. The folding, cutting back, tying or breaking the foliage is the worst thing one can do for the long term health of the bulb. Admittedly the foliage is not going to look the most attractive as it declines. But to hide this fact plant annuals or perennials or other companion bulbs to fill in later in the season. Let the foliage die back on its own. You will have much better results in the long term with you display.
Top


Daffodils are the star of the show in early to mid spring but they have some tough competition with Tulipia x Tulips. AT THE MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN THEY HAVE 45,000 NEW TULIPS PLANTED EACH YEAR. And there are many different types and colors. Here they treat Tulips as annuals. They tend not to perennialize well over the course of the summer. Plus, they irrigate too much and they may not choose the most perennial varieties. Importantly, it gives the horticulturists on staff the opportunity to change the palette and their designs every year which means they can then try new varieties. The home gardener can do the same thing. Tulips are not immune to deer and rabbits, another reason to encourage home gardeners to treat them as annual bulbs. If one wants to perennialize them select the right varieties, plant them in a location that stays dry in the summertime. And irrigation is not a good thing for Tulips. There are many different varieties, like Daffodils they too have early to late blooming varieties. Pick the right varieties and you can have several months of Tulips in the spring.
Top


Jason has also mixed in other bulbs in this bed. ALLIUMS X IS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BED. Allium is another great bulb in the collection and there are many different species of Alliums. Both Alliums and Tulips are excellent cut flower material for the home gardener who likes to take a little bit of the outdoors in and do some floral arranging. Not only are they a beautiful element in the garden but as a dried flower they'll last for many years. Thus one can enjoy Alliums year round. Unfortunately deer and other wildlife also enjoy Alliums. There are some varieties that are less prone to foraging, but wildlife likes the flavor of onions, much like humans.
Top


We receive a lot of questions wanting to know about BULBS THAT AREN'T WILDLIFE FAVORITES, particularly deer and rabbits. Jason discusses several. Leucojum aestivum Summer Snowflake is a very nice plant. It blooms mid to late spring and is in the Amaryllis family. Any bulb in the Amaryllis family is poisonous so animals will not bother them. Typically there are excellent perennial varieties, as well. Under the shade of the tree, in a natural setting, one can see how this bulb can be useful in a woodland garden or a naturalized area that may be frequently grazed by rabbits and deer. Another variety is Spanish bluebell. Hyacinthoides hispatica, cultivar Excelsior is a Plant of Merit and for good reason. It's an excellent long-term perennial bulb, completely animal resistant and unlike many bulbs is indifferent to location. Sun or shade, moist or dry it doesn't matter, it's an excellent, superb plant. These bulbs are great for naturalizing and they don't require digging up from season to season. Plant them once and forget about them. They'll self seed and multiply by division, they never decline as other bulbs may.
Fritallaria meleagris is a great bulb but probably not as noticed because of its understated flower. But, it is a workhorse. Fritillaries are a unique group of plants that can often be a little fussy with alkalinity requirements, moisture and summer dormancy. This species Uva vulpis is not. It tolerates just about any situation the gardener can imagine. It likes moisture, whereas many do not. It will tolerate shade, sun, it's a great naturalizing plant, it self seeds, it colonizes all on its own and it's animal resistant which is an added perk. This Fritillaria species has a range of seasonal interest, from its emergence foliage late winter through early spring, its seed set in early summer, it provides 3 to 4 months of interest.
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Although we've showcased typical spring flowers and bulbs like Tulips, Daffodils and Hyacinth, bulbs aren't just for spring anymore. Joe and Jason are in the greenhouse to talk about hundreds of varieties that are not winter hardy. THESE ARE SUMMER BULBS. They're not hardy, they're from tropical, subtropical regions of the world, southern hemisphere or climates opposite ours. These cannot tolerate winter freezing, so they lift them up in the fall and bring them indoors for the wintertime. These particular varieties are evergreen. They need to be kept growing year round for the best success. As soon as the late frosts are over in the spring or as they're digging up Tulips and Hyacinths, which are treated as annuals, they put these outside in their place and they last outside summer through fall. Jason discusses several non hardy bulbs that he likes.
The collection they have features the greatest taxonomic diversity of bulbs in their collection. Whereas in the spring they have massive drifts of individual varieties, in the summertime they have individual specimen plants of many different types. For instance, they have Cliva miniata Kaffer Lily. This plant is native to South Africa, it's a wonderful shade loving, summer blooming bulb that will flower all summer long well into fall, in this region. Phaedranassa cinera is from South America, it blooms sporadically throughout the summer and fall then again in the winter months as a conservatory or indoor plant. One of his favorites and certainly popular in the horticultural trade is Clivia miniata Elephant Ear. It's a versatile plant for summer shade, not for flowers, but for foliage. These plants range in size from small like Caladiums to some of the giant Elephant Ears, a Tide Giant is available that can grow to over 10 feet tall. Those are three types of summer plants that they grow outside here. But Jason's favorite is the Amaryllis Hippeastrum which scientifically is Hippeastrum, that's the genus for this group of plants. The Garden's collection contains 150 different varieties of Amaryllis, typically sold and marketed as a winter or Christmas blooming plant. Jason has tricked these plants into blooming 3 or 4 times a year, based on culture. They start as an evergreen plant, never let them go dormant as the instructions say, plant them in the ground late May in full sun, leave them outside all summer and fall, bring them in just before a deep frost or freeze in late autumn, pot them up and keep them growing and blooming. By doing that on a year round cycle they'll flower spring, summer, fall and of course heavy winter. Some varieties, not all but most, will get at least 3 blooms per year. Bulbs just aren't for spring anymore, they can provide year round interest. If one follows the correct cultivar procedures they can have flowers all year.
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It's important to note that when planting any garden, but especially a bulb garden, one can have color from late winter to late fall. We're accustomed to spring flowering hardy bulbs which are femoral. They come up and bloom in the spring, then die back. But, what's to fill that void after they're gone, even before and during their blooming. IT'S IMPORTANT TO PLAN FOR AS MUCH SUCCESSIVE INTEREST, COMPANIONSHIP between other plants whether from bulbs, trees, shrubs, perennials, etc. as possible. Jason wants the longest term display possible. They have a vast collection of bulbs that must be showcased outside all season long. So, getting them through their peaks and troughs of folial and floral interest just requires planning. Jason provides an example of extending the season. One bed has Grape Hyacinths and Crocuses, following that were the Daffodils, as the Daffodils started to decline the Lilium x Lilies came along. The Lilies are unique hardy bulbs, once they flower, they don't die back like spring flowering bulbs typically do. They just keep growing, they provide foliar interest from mid to late summer all the way into fall. Plus they have attractive foliage. This is an example of companion planting. Jason has planted several hardy bulbs that require the same situation, cultural requirements, in the same location, to provide successive interest spring through fall.
The Tulips and Hyacinths, they will take out, they're annual bulbs. In their wake they will plant summer bulbs-Clivias, Amaryllis, Elephant Ears, etc., another way to achieve a succession of color. Around those they will plant summer bedding plants-tropical foliage plants, Coleus, Salvias and others. This is where intent or the design palette comes into play. Every garden will have its own theme and the sky can be the limit. But constant interest in plants doesn't just mean at the ground level. They have shrubs and trees behind the bed that also extend the season. Also take into consideration all seasons, even the winter months when all bulbs are either dormant or in the greenhouse. This bed would then normally be a vast expanse of mulch. Here Jason has Hydrangea aspera Ornamental Hydrangea that has tremendous winter interest via its foliage. It has gorgeous foliage in the spring, great flowers all summer and great fall color. Malus x Crabapple Tree sp. Cherry; Corylus contorta Harry Lauder's Walking Stick are other plants with multi season interest. These plants provide great ornamental value not just when the bulbs are in bloom but year round. So 4 seasons of interest is paramount with every aspect of the bulb garden, from the bulbs to the trees and shrubs that house or frame the collection.
Jason has a parting thought. For a world class display of bulbs, or any plant for that matter, to extend the season, from spring throughout the year, have a goal. Have an intent for your garden. Do a little research, talk to garden associates, talk to your local extension agents, do some internet shopping, some research find out what will work for you and your site. Find as much long term and seasonal successive interest as possible within those groups as possible. If you do this your garden will look great for a much longer period of time.
Great advice and a great tour. Thanks Jason. The Missouri Botanical Garden is magical.
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LINKS:

Missouri Botanical Garden

Hotel Rooms, Rates & Reservations at Drury Hotels

Garden Smart Plant List

 
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