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Layering Tulips

Tulips provide a blast of color in the Spring. What we want to do is plant them this time of year. In many parts of the world Tulips are a Perennial, meaning they come back year after year. Because of our warm Summers in the South we treat them as Annuals. The metabolism of the Tulip bulb is high. Because our Summers are hot the bulb doesn't get a chance to rest and restore its' energy. Usually after the first year they are short, stunted and produce leaves but very few flowers. You could plant the bulbs deeply or in a shady area, but again, it's better in this climate to treat them as an Annual.

When buying Tulip bulbs, check the interior part. They should have layers like an Onion and the center should be light yellow to white. If they are brown they've been exposed to heat and not good. Any Blue Mold on the bulbs is a bad sign.

Today we are planting Tulip bulbs below a layer of Pansies and Violas. These could be planted in a garden bed or container. but we're using a container. Make sure you use at least a 12" container. Fill about half way with a good potting soil. Put in the Tulip bulbs, pointed side up and with the flat side of the bulb against the container. You could place them shoulder to shoulder, Dr. Rick allows a little space between bulbs, planting around the outside edge and also filling the middle of the pot. Think about the color of the Tulips and how they will go with the Pansies. Now cover with more potting soil and move on to the Pansies/Violas.

Place the Pansies so there is a lip around the top of the planter. Don't compact the soil. Group them by color and concentrate the plants at the edge of the pot. Point the plants out at about a 45 degree angle, allowing them to cascade over the side. Check the roots, don't cut them, instead squeeze them, even pinch them allowing them to spread out. They aren't heavy feeders, put in a slow release fertilizer at the beginning and completely saturate with water. You will have good looking plants all winter and in the spring an explosion of color with the Tulips as well as the Pansies.

Trough Making With Helen Phillips

Everyone has a place for a garden container. And many have been enamored with old trough containers. Helen Phillips from Callaway Gardens shows us how to make this unique planter. You can make them in any shape, she uses an old plastic planter and a modified Styrofoam cooler as a mold. Mix two parts sand, one part Peat Moss, one part Portland cement and water. Make the bottom 2 inches thick, the sides 1-1.5 inches thick. Use dowels to make drainage holes, cover with plastic and let sit for 24 hours. Then take a wire brush and rough up the edges. Cover again with plastic and let it cure for one month. Flush it liberally with water, then plant. Helen uses full sun plants: Hens and Chicks, Thymus Minus and Acorus Grass. This will be a beautiful, welcome addition to any setting.

Callaway Gardens

Ivy In Trees

A viewer has sent us an email asking is it a good thing to leave English Ivy in Trees? Simply put, No! Ivy doesn't use the juice of the tree, what it does do is climb the tree looking for sunshine. When it gets to the top it shades out the lower limbs of the tree and the tree can then lose those limbs. The best way to control these vines is to cut them at the foot of the tree. Then cut the vines back about a foot away from the tree itself so they don't grow back rapidly. It isn't necessary to pull the vines out of the trees, they will eventually turn brown and die.

Thanks to all who have emailed us this year. We sincerely appreciate your watching the show and hope the answers have been helpful. TSG

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GardenSMART Featured Article

By Monrovia Nursery Company
Photographs by Doreen Wynja for Monrovia

Monrovia has put together a list of their top 10 flowering annuals, perennials and shrubs that can bring life and cheer to you garden ASAP. For an interesting article, click here .

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