Sunday, December 16, 2018

Forcing Tulip Bulbs In December To Bloom Indoors Come Spring!

If you're like me, you probably will be longing for the sight of some cheerful flowering plants in your home by mid-February into March. My weakness happens to be tulips!
Yes, I could wait until this coming March or April and buy a pot or 2 of already flowering tulips from my local supermarket, but I decided  ... what the heck! I'll be adventurous!  You can, too! All you need are some tulip bulbs, containers for planting, potting soil, paper or mesh bags, and a cool dark place to put your bulbs. Lightly water them once a week, and at the end of their chilling period, bring them out into bright, indirect light and you should have blooms in 2-3 weeks.
On December 6th, I bought some marked-down tulip bulbs ... filled 2 pots (3-4 inches deep) with moist potting soil and barely pressed the bulbs in on the surface of  the soil. Then I placed the pots on a shelf in our unheated garage. During the winter our garage stays between 35-45 degrees which is perfect for chilling tulip bulbs. Keep an eye on the temperature. You don't want your bulbs to freeze. Since the bulbs also require complete darkness at this time, I also covered the top of the pots with a cardboard box to prevent any light from coming through. The only thing I have to do is remember to lightly water the bulbs once a week.  I chose to use my unheated garage to chill my potted up tulip bulbs. That's just one way of doing it.                                                          
Another way you can chill your tulip bulbs is to store them in the fruit or vegetable crisper in your refrigerator. You can store them either potted in soil, or store just the bulbs themselves in a partially open paper bag or in a mesh bag. Word of caution. Do not store them with apples. The fruit contains a gas that will kill the flowers in your bulbs. Once the bulbs have chilled, pot them up,  leave them uncovered, and put them in a cool place for about 2 weeks. Then place the pots in a warm spot with bright, but indirect light.
You can also chill your bulbs in a cool dark spot in a basement or closet.  In this way you still can choose to either pot them up or store them in paper or mesh bags. 
Now, how long do you have to chill your tulip bulbs you're wondering? Well, my research says 12-16 weeks of chilling seems to be the norm. Most information sources advise that you start chilling your bulbs in the beginning of October for indoor late winter, early spring blooms. BUT ... BUT ... I just love when there's a "BUT" ... some sources say if you start chilling your bulbs in the beginning of December it will only take 8-10 weeks til bloom! For me, that would be around the end of February. Wouldn't that be nice!

  It is not too late to start now! Some of the big box stores still have hugely discounted spring flowering bulbs available. Choose whatever method you like to grow them. You could have tulips blooming inside in March!

I'll let you all know how this turns out in a few months!

Monday, December 10, 2018

My Version Of The Twelve Days Of Christmas ... In Flowers

             You probably know the song ... on the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... a Partridge in a Pear Tree.  
This ... is a Partridge. Looks kind of like a pheasant to me. Whatever. Anyway, it is not exactly what I would want on the First Day Of Christmas  ... as well as the next 11 days following Christmas. Nor do I want or need Calling Doves, French Hens, etc. My dear hubby, Bill, knows the way to my heart ... he knows I love flowers! So, I dedicate this blog post to  him, my True Love. This is my version of The Twelve Days of Christmas ... In Flowers!

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
         a pretty, frilly pink Pe-on-y.

         On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
two yellow Roses ...
and a second lovely pink Pe-on-y.

       On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
three white Daisies
   two yellow Roses
     and my favorite flower ... another pink Pe-on-y.

   On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
     four lavendar Lilacs
       three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
       and, Oh My ... another lovely pink Pe-on-y.

           On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
              and another ...  pink Pe-on-y.

        On the sixth Day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
six stunning Tulips 
 four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
   and another very pretty Pink Pe-on-y.

  On the Seventh Day of Christmas my True Love gave to me ...
seven fragrant Sweet Peas
six stunning Tulips 
four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
and to my delight ... another pink Pe-on-y.

   On the Eight Day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... 
eight purple Poppies 
seven fragrant Sweet Peas, six stunning Tulips 
 four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
     and a rosy pink  ... Pe-on-y.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
nine nodding Bluebells
eight purple Poppies, seven fragrant Sweet Peas, Six stunning Tulips
four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses 
       and ... what else? Another pink Pe-on-y!

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
     ten tiny Violets
nine nodding Bluebells, eight purple Poppies, seven fragrant Sweet Peas
six stunning Tulips
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
    and another sparkling Pink Pe-on-y!

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
eleven lovely Lupines
 ten tiny Violets, nine nodding Bluebells, eight purple Poppies
seven fragrant Sweet Peas, six stunning Tulips
        ---FIVE GOLDEN SUNS ---
    four lavender Lilacs, three white Daisies, two yellow Roses
       and what else? Another ruffly, pink Pe-on-y!

    And on the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ...
11 lovely lupines
 10 tiny Violets
 9 nodding Bluebells
8 purple Poppies
 7 fragrant Sweet Peas
 6 stunning Tulips
4 lovely Lilacs
3 white Daisies
2 yellow Roses
 12 beautiful flowers
as perfect as can be
Ah, come on, you know ....
it was a dozen lovely, PINK PE-ON-IES!

Wishing you all
 a very

Thanks to Pixabay for use of the photos used in this blog.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

It's Almost Time To Force The Amaryllis Bulbs ....

As soon as the leaves have fallen, the windows are closed, and the heat inside the house is on ... you very well might start thinking it's Amaryllis Time. There is nothing more beautiful than Amaryllis blooming inside over the Christmas holidays right through the Winter.
If this is your first time growing Amaryllis ... you can start anytime between October 1st and March 1st.  After planting, you should have blooms in approximately 6-8 weeks. Just follow these 5 simple steps to begin your adventure:
1. Start with nice, fat round Amaryllis bulbs. You can buy single bulbs online as well as purchase them from Big Box Stores. You can also buy all-in-one kits containing a bulb, pot, and a compressed soil disk. Personally, I really don't care for the kits. I'd rather buy just the bulbs. 
2. Buy a flower pot with drainage holes. A 6-7 inch pot is fine for one bulb.
3. Buy potting soil.
4. To begin, moisten some of the potting soil and add it to the pot til it's about 2/3 full. Place an Amaryllis bulb on top of the soil and gently spread the roots out over the top of the soil. Now add a bit more moistened potting soil so that only about 1/3 to 1/2 of the top of bulb is visible.
5.Place the pot in a warm, brightly lit room. Water sparingly at first. When leaf growth begins water more often. Now .... be patient.

                                                          Voila! Success!

 Once your Amaryllis is blooming, the flowers will last longer if you move your plant to a cooler spot with indirect light. 

 If you buy extra Amaryllis Bulbs and pots, and stagger your planting times, you can have flowers blooming all winter long.  The chart below gives approximate planting and blooming times.  Happy Planting!

PLANT                 BLOOM
Oct 15           Nov 26 - Dec 10
Nov 1            Dec 13  - Dec 27
Nov 15          Dec 27  - Jan 10
Dec  1            Jan 12  - Jan 26
Dec 15           Jan 26 - Feb  9
Jan  1            Feb 12  - Feb 26
Jan 15           Feb 26 - Mar 11
Feb  1            Mar 14 - Mar 28
Feb 15          Mar 28 - Apr 11
Mar 1            Apr 11 -  Apr 26

Have any questions? Suggestions? Or just want to say "Hi" ?  Drop me a line in the comments section. Would love to hear from you!

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dang Squirrels! Leaves My Bulbs Alone!

                                                 Yep, it's that time again. Fall is here!
In addition to the colorful leaves and crisp cool air, bulb planting time has  also arrived. And so the battle begins ....
Squirrels. Don't be fooled by their cute little faces and those tiny little claws. Beware. You know those daffodil bulbs you just planted ...?
Guess who just dug them all up?! 
And your pumpkins?
They're not safe either. Evidently, squirrels find them delish! One of the little devils stole one of my mini pumpkins right off the front deck railing! And here's the evidence!

So what is one supposed to do?Well, difficult times require drastic measures.  So ....
You improvise! Some leftover strips of wire fencing laid over newly planted bulbs, and then covered with heavy stones, was my first shot at a temporary fix. 
For my second attempt, I found something even better! Leftover pieces of this other wire fencing (same as the fencing in the first photo), covered with a few heavy stones, was much easier to work with.  I've got Anemone Blanda Mix bulbs planted here. I also have 2 other spots where I intend to plant about 50 more daffodil bulbs, and I have plenty of this fencing left to cover those areas. 
 Yay! I just found 2 packages of these in my garage! Now I can ditch the large stones. Garden staples are really nifty!  Just anchor them through just about anything ... wire, burlap, netting ... whatever, and push the pins all the way into the soil. They hold up really well through all seasons. 

Now, as far as the decorative real pumpkins on the front deck rail ... I guess I will just have to cave.
I'll just have to decorate the deck rail with fake pumpkins ... hee hee.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

September Goings On In My Pocono Mountain Garden 2018

Hard to believe it's September already. Some of flowers are starting to wind down ... and others are still going strong!
My Lauren's Grape Poppies have all gone to seed now, but they were so beautiful when they were in bloom.
My tall Garden Phlox had finished blooming, but a few weeks ago I cut them back, and now I'm getting a second flush of flowers!
My tall climbing Nasturtiums like the sun, but they look so much brighter when the temperatures are cooler. The Bees and Hummingbirds love them!
The Petunias in the window boxes are still blooming their heads off! I must have cut them back 3-4 times during the Summer.
A pot of annual Dianthus has looked great from late Spring right through Summer. I have cut them back quite a few times, too.
I love my late season blooming Morning Glories! Grandpa Ott's are especially pretty!
The last, and my favorite of all ... evening blooming Moonflowers ... which are temperamental to say the least.  They are very late bloomers ...  mid to late September here in the Poconos. This photo, though, was taken this past mid-July. Extremely early for Moonflowers here. If I remember correctly, I believe we had a mini heat wave for quite a few days around that time and I had about 3 blooms.  Then the plant sulked for quite awhile after. I am happy to say though ... 
she produced more buds, and hopefully, will flower again later this month.

Happy Gardening To All