Spring gardens are such a glorious sight that it’s natural to want that show to continue throughout the rest of the growing season. But how is that accomplished?
In early spring, about the time that you’d plant English peas, lilies can be nestled into bare spots in the garden. Because they are sun lovers, putting them in the same garden and around the ankles of daffodils and tulips is the best spot. And because lilies need to be planted about 8” – 10” deep, other summer bulbs like dahlias, eucomis (pineapple lily), gladiolus, oxalis and zephryanthes (rain lily) can be planted right on top of them later, after danger of hard frost. This is also a great place to add sun loving perennials and annuals to add other textures, forms and colors to your garden.
Adding bulbs and plants to the garden that will come up in late spring and put on a show in early summer is also the best way to deal with the lasting, but necessary foliage that daffodils leave behind. Those green daffodil leaves act as ‘solar collectors’ that recharge the batteries (the bulbs) to generate enough sugars to create next year’s bloom. Cutting those leaves too early may rob the bulbs of proper nutrients that are produced through the photosynthesis process, which may block the energy needed for flowering formation for the following spring. When you choose perennials, annuals or summer bulbs to add to the full-sun garden where your daffodils and tulips are planted, try to choose ones that won’t need daily watering as spring flowering bulbs want to sleep in a dry bed like we do. If they get too much water during their dormancy when the weather is hot, they may rot.
If pastels are your color choices, the combination of Amarcrinum, Dahlia ‘Gallery Park Princess’, Phlox ‘Jeana’ and Phlox ‘Bright Eyes’ planted together create a wonderful mixed garden with different heights, textures and bloom times. Then you can add lots of great annuals and veggies to the garden to add the splash of color to accent this pastel garden. If you’re a ‘warm color’ person, Lilium ‘Stainless Steel’, Dahlia ‘Gallery Singer’ and Zantedeschia ‘San Remo’ will give you that ‘hot spot’ you desire!
Don’t forget to add compost to your garden every year. We continue to ask our gardens to give to us – and although adding a slow release fertilizer isn’t bad, it’s more like giving your plants vitamins. Spreading compost in and around your garden is like providing the best balanced diet imaginable. Adding Bio-Char and Azomite will help your garden thrive even more with the additional minerals that are so depleted from our garden soil. Your plants, no matter what type, will reward you!
By Justin Hancock, Monrovia Horticultural Craftsman
Photographs courtesy of Monrovia
Labor Day may represent summer’s unofficial close but now is a perfect opportunity to add late-summer perennials that will continue to beautify your landcare until fall arrives. click here for an article that identifies 9 perennials for late summer.
Click here to sign up for our monthly NEWSLETTER packed with great articles and helpful tips for your home, garden and pets!