Lawn Care vs. Bulb Care

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.

Planning ahead:

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!

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