October 24, 2012

Fall Planting for Spring Surprises

Fall planting in my garden is finally finished after getting several hundred bulbs and a few bareroot perennials in the ground.  Now there's just all the fall cleanup to do - cutting back dead perennials and cleaning leaves out of the garden.  Most of the color is gone from the garden, but the little lavender fall Crocus speciosus are still blooming in the front yard (above). 

I planted fifty 'White Splendor' Anemone blanda around the trees and roses in the front yard.  Last fall I planted some but forgot to soak them first, and none came up in the spring.  This year I dutifully covered them with lukewarm water and let them plump up overnight before planting.  Before soaking they looked like dried doggy poo.  After soaking they looked like fresh doggy poo (above).

I also added more crocus:  early yellow 'Golden Bunch' and later violet 'Grande Maitre', above.  Newly planted tulips include more 'Salmon Impression', more pale yellow 'Jaap Groot', and white 'Maureen' which blooms at the very end of tulip season.  One hundred more of my favorite 'Tete a Tete' mini daffodils came from John Scheepers, and I really should have taken a photo of the giant bulb clusters.  Many of the bulbs were 4-nosed, meaning four bulbs were hooked together at the base to be counted as one bulb.  Wow!  That will make a lot of flowers in the spring.  In past years I have planted bulbs in clusters around the yard, but this year I tried to extend the clusters into sinuous lines.  We'll see how it works when they come up in spring. 

I found a place in the front yard for another 'Coral Supreme' peony (above) from Swenson Gardens to match the other two.  This new one will take a few years to catch up to the others, which should bloom heavily next spring since it will be their third year in the ground (in their first year peonies sleep, in the second they creep, and in their third they leap).  I also added a third 'Capital Red' tree peony from Cricket Hill Garden in the backyard.  This spring one of the tree peonies I planted last fall died back at the end of the main stem and looked like it was completely dead.  Cricket Hill was ready to send me a replacement (great customer service!), but then the peony leafed out from lower on the stem and started growing happily.    

After trying twice before to order 'Heartbeat' super poppies (Papaver) and having the nursery run out before filling my order, I finally received four poppy roots from White Flower Farm this fall.  I had only ordered three, so I'm not sure if the extra one tucked in there was a mistake or if one of them was too small to count.  No complaints, though!  I've been excited for a long time to see how these burgundy, twice-blooming poppies do in my garden.  I love the orange-red poppies in other gardens but don't want that color in my scheme, so I'm happy to find what I think will be the perfect shade.    


  1. Hi VW,

    Pleased to hear you've managed to finish your bulb planting - no such luck here. Got Alliums left to plant but it's been so damp for the past three days and due to get cold over the weekend, I can't see myself getting them in soon. Plus, the border they're meant for is still full of annuals and it's difficult to get them planted... (that's my excuse, anyway :D)

    Looking forward to seeing your bulbs in spring!

  2. Oh and I meant to say... I too never soaked my Anemone Blanda first, but have had a high success rate with them... After all, the rain will soak them for us :)

  3. That would be disappointing to not have any of the Anemone come up. With luck the 50 hydrated bulbs should put on a good show for you next year. Those mini tete a tete will display some showy blooms from the mega bulbs. I like planting the largest bulbs I can find. The sinuous river of bulbs winding through your garden could look really cool.

    Planting bulbs is one of my favourite gardening jobs. I've got mine all buried, and now I'm ready to fast forward to spring.

  4. I never soaked my anemones, guess that is why I have none. Might try again, knowing now to soak overnight. You have so many bulbs planted! I would worry about trying to plant something else ...might dig up a bulb.

  5. I can't wait to see your poppies. I'm not particularly fond of those neon red ones either. I soaked my anemones. It makes all the difference. I've got a package of Saffron Crocus and pink tulips that I need to get planted soon. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  6. How exciting, I'll be looking forward to seeing how the peony turns out. By far my favourite flower.


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