The Labor Day holiday weekend has passed, the kids are back in school and we started September with some of the hottest and most humid weather than we have had all summer. Yes, Mother Nature keeps us guessing and reminds us that we are not in charge, need to remain flexible and keep a good sense of humor! Continue reading
The 2014 spring weather was never as welcomed as it was after the severe and long winter we had last year! We don’t know what this coming winter will bring us, but we are planning for our spring 2015 flowers anticipating the need for LOTS of color in our lives!
Tulips are one of the most colorful flowers available for spring bloom. Planted deeply (8”-10” depending on soil type) in the fall and in full sun, they make everything else in the garden look bright and happy! When the tulips are in bloom, no one notices the weeds! Some of the most popular groups are:
Single Early types like T. ‘Apricot Beauty,’ which is lovely with a variety of flower colors – blues, whites, purples and even soft yellows in the garden. It is always a good forcer if given enough pre-cooling time and looks wonderful in a container on the patio.
Double early tulips like T. ‘Foxtrot’ have so many petals that when they are open, they FILL the container of spot in the garden. They are also great forcers and are among our most popular type of tulip.
Triumph tulips have more different types and more color options of any of the other groups. They are often used for forcing and for annual displays. One of the most popular is T. ‘Negrita’, a lovely reddish purple tulip that adds a richness to many garden design concepts.
Darwin Hybrid Tulips are the most perennial of the larger-type tulips because their bulbs don’t break apart into ‘daughter bulbs’ as quickly as some of the other types. There are many colors from which to choose and for areas where they are added to perennial gardens, this group is a perfect choice. Two of the most popular ones are T. ‘Pink Impression’ and T. ‘Red Impression’. Amazingly, they really look nice planted together but also look awesome with many other types of spring flowering bulbs and perennials!
Rabbits have discovered our gardens and last fall began to enjoy the pansies that we had just planted over top of the “LOVE” garden. We sprinkled the granular product called Plantskyd around the pansies in November and the pansies were still there looking wonderful in April! We certainly can’t be sure each critter will react the same way in every garden and with every enticing plant, but we just wanted you go know our experience.
We have heard some customers say that when they think about Brent and Becky’s Bulbs, they usually associate us with daffodils more than any other bulb. Can you guess what our 2nd favorite bulb is? I’ll give you some hints:
1. It is the one that putting on the best show in our gardens at this very moment!
2. Most do best with lots of sunlight
3. Most are relatively tall
4. Most have multiple flowers per stem
5. Most bloom during the summer, but not all in the same month
6. Some have AWESOME fragrances
You’ve probably guessed it correctly…
These fabulous lily bulbs can be planted either in the fall or the spring! We offer fewer types of lilies in the fall only because of the space needed for the millions of daffodil, tulip and other spring flowering bulbs. Also, our lilies arrive later in the fall (usually early October) than many other bulbs that are planted in the fall, so keep that in mind when planning your planting dates.
There are SO many colors available and if enough different types are planted, they can provide blooms from June to August! One of the most popular colors ordered are pink ones like ‘Anastasia’:
Some gardeners prefer the dramatic two-toned ones like ‘Forever Susan’:
…and ‘Netty’s Pride’:
And then others prefer species types, which are very specific in their requirements but when planted in their ‘happy spot’ are amazing. Some examples of those are henryi:
Lilies have long stems and make great candidates for terrific long-lasting cut flowers. But if you don’t want to cut the whole long stem, each blossom can be carefully cut and you can place these shorter stemmed blossoms around the edge of an arrangement using moistened oasis. It will create a multi-colored amazing arrangement, leaving all the rest of the flowers and yet-to-open flower buds on the lily stems in the garden to bloom the next week! Take a look at more lilies here!
The good news is, the lilies and the hyacinths can be planted in the same area of your full-sun garden. Just plant the lilies 8”-10” deep (because they have stem roots and this depth will help hold up their big flower heads), and you can plant the hyacinths right on top about 6” deep. The hyacinths will come up in the spring, bloom, and their leaves will mature and go away about the time that the lilies will begin to emerge! They make terrific ‘bedfellows’!
Come to see us if you are in Virginia! We’re a “stone’s throw” from Richmond, Colonial Williamsburg, Newport News/Hampton, Virginia Beach or Norfolk.
We hope you are having a wonderful summer!
Lawn care caution:
We are not lawn grass experts by any means. But more and more often, we receive calls about unusual things happening in the flower garden nearest the lawn area. One scenario was this:
“The plants in the front of my flower bed have beautiful green leaves but are no longer producing flowers. The same plants in the back of the flower bed are still producing flowers! Why is this happening?”
After asking a lot of questions about the locations of trees, other plants in the area, sun/shade, moisture availability, fertilization, etc., what the owner finally surmised was, his lawn care company spread lots of nitrogen-rich fertilizer on the lawn area right before a heavy rain and it washed into the flower bed urging lots of green leaves in lieu of producing flowers. We think alerting your lawn care person to being careful when spreading high nitrogen fertilizer and to water it in lightly so it won’t wash into the adjoining flower border may help. Of course, we think spreading a thin layer of compost in the grass with help the grass and the surrounding flower beds! Another scenario was this:
“The bulbs in front of my flower bed are distorted, turning yellow and look really sick. The same bulbs in the back of the flower bed look fine and are producing healthy looking flowers! What is going on?”
After asking similar questions of the customer that we ask in the first situation, we found that the lawn care company liberally used ‘weed killer’ in the lawn, which is supposed to kill anything but grass. Again, either the weed killer washed into the bed or in spreading it, some fell into the flower border.
We understand why most people want the pure dark green, healthy lawn and what it takes to achieve that goal. We also think it is possible to have both – nice lawns and beautiful, healthy and colorful flower borders. We just need to communicate with all the people involved so everyone understands how each area can affect the other. And if possible, we always suggest organic solutions.
It may seem ridiculous to think now of what you might want to plant in the fall, but honestly, this is a great time. Here are some reasons why:
1. This time of year, it isn’t unusual to have some 90+ degree days – the planning can be done inside in the afternoons on one of those days in the comfort of AC. I can’t think of a better use of those times!
2. This time of year, it’s not unusual to have thunderstorms – garden planning is a great use of time during those storms.
3. If you place your order by July 1st, you receive a 5% discount; if you pay for your order by July 1st, you receive an additional 5%…or a total of 10% discount! Saving money is always a good reason to plan early!
One of the items you might want to look at when planning what to plant in the fall are Alliums or ornamental onions. This plant group comes in SO many heights, colors, flower sizes and bloom times. The largest flower in this group is Allium schubertii – its flowers about the size of volleyballs…truly!
Two of the smallest flowers in this group are Allium sphaerocephalon, whose quarter sized maroon flowers are often called ‘drumstick alliums’ and Allium caeruleum, whose quarter-sized flowers add a lovely flax blue color in the late spring/early summer garden.
One allium that the early colonists brought with them is Allium ampeloprasum or affectionately known as the ‘Yorktown Onion’. We propagate them here at Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and also use it as well as the other alliums in our gardens. They all make such a dramatic statement.
From 4” to 4’, from white, to yellow, to pink, to lavender, and to maroon, with quarter-sized to volleyball flower sizes that bloom from late April until almost July, Alliums provide interesting beauty and structure to the garden between the blooming seasons of daffodils and lilies. They also provide long-lasting cut flowers!
So take a look at Alliums and give them a try…you’ll be glad you did!
Check out the latest episode of our podcast, Tete-a-Tete!
The weather has finally warmed up in tidewater Virginia and we feel like we are safe to plant our summer bulbs now. It’s much more interesting to include perennials in your garden and we have awesome Summer blooming perennials that we call COZY COMPANIONS. Now, it’s difficult to highlight just a couple of them because each has its own beauty and strength. But here are a couple of them that are some of our favorites!
Phlox ‘Jeana’ has become Brent’s favorite phlox because it stays in bloom not just for a few weeks, but all Summer long! It stands straight and tall and it appears to be mildew resistant as well! Hardy through zones 4 – 8, Phlox ‘Jeana’ is glorious splash of color in your full sun to part shade garden! You’ll get a lot pleasure out of this one for your investment!
Gaillardia aristata ‘Arizona Sun’ is another favorite because its flowers are so bright and it is a totally ‘easy care’, drought tolerant perennial. But there are many more from which to choose! Click here to see the whole group. Remember, fill your garden with plants and there is LESS ROOM FOR WEEDS!
Gaillardia aristata ‘Arizona Sun’ is another favorite because its flowers are so bright and it is a totally ‘easy care’, drought tolerant perennial. This visual fire-ball forms 10″-12″ clumps and can be seen from a distance. It’s a garden showtime powerhouse! This would look great along your borders or in a rock garden, in full sun. And since it’s hardy to zones 3 – 10, almost every one of yoou can grow this!
But there are so many more that we love! But, we can’t really say which we like the best. Why don’t you choose! Click here to see the whole group (and save 10% for a limited time!)
Remember, fill your garden with plants and there is LESS ROOM FOR WEEDS!
EARLY MAY IN THE GARDEN:
Now is the time when our ‘BRIDGE FLOWERS’ are beginning to bloom! That’s the name we have given a groups of special flowers that bridge the gap between the brilliant ‘spring splash’ and the colorful ‘summer sizzle’ flower display. Alliums, Eremurus, Dutch Iris, Calochortus, Dichelostemma and Triteleia are among the flowers that are in bloom now. Take a look around your garden and if your daffodils are over and you are waiting for your lilies to bloom, you garden is pretty dull at the moment. You might consider ordering some of the above mentioned flowers now for fall delivery, which will ensure you won’t have a lull in your garden next year. Ordering by July 1st also provides a discount on these items! Click here to get a glimpse of some of those marvelous and colorful ‘bridge flowers’!
Planning for fall color in your own garden:
If thinking about your garden in the fall brings images of colorful leaves on the trees but no other color, consider pest resistant grasses. Two in particular have become favorites in our garden and attracts the attention of our visitors. They are Muhlenburgia or affectionately called ‘Muley Grass’. There is a pink and a white form. For us, Muhlenbergia Capillaris or Pink Muhly Grass, blooms first, normally in October.
The white form, called “White Cloud” for obvious reasons, blooms about a month later, or in late October/early November.
They seem to be easy, clump forming, reliable and hardy to zone 6. When the breeze blows, they both sway and dance in the breeze and seem to say, “Look at me”! Order them now, plant them as soon as they arrive and you’ll have this amazing beauty in your own garden this fall, which will get better and better as year passes! (plus they go on sale soon! Watch for our email!)