2014-03-28 / Columnists

Diary Of A Green Thumb

By Danielle of Danielle’s Rockaway Florist

Easter is around the corner and so many of us will be buying or receiving colorful potted plants that will help us to celebrate the long awaited springtime! Of the many hydrangea, lilies, mums and calla lilies that will be available; the hyacinth, daffodils and tulips tend to be amongst the most popular.

The intoxicating scent and vibrant colors of hyacinth make them a favorite spring flowering bulb. Favored for their intense colors and heavy fragrance, hyacinths are a staple of the spring garden. The plants stately appearance makes them prized in formal bulb plantings. Flower colors include rich magenta, deep indigo, pale pinks, baby blue and white. When planted in a bed, flower size may decline over the years so some gardeners treat hyacinths as annuals and plant fresh bulbs each fall.

The jewels of the spring bulb garden, tulips, are available in a huge range of flower shapes, sizes and colors. The smaller species of tulips are reliably perennial, while larger types may need to be replanted every few years. Tulip colors include apricot, salmon, red, deep maroon, yellow, orange, and white just to mention a few! The petals may be double, ruffled, fringed or lily shaped, depending on the variety. The height ranges from six inches to two feet tall. By planting varieties with different bloom times, you can have tulips in your garden from early to late spring.

The dependable, spring-flowering daffodil is a favorite for its long life and carefree colorful blooms. Daffodils bring cheer to the spring garden with abundant flowers in hues of yellow, white and salmon.

Varieties are available in a range of sizes and forms. Flowers may have a single or double row of petals. The height varies from 6- 20 inches, and grows best in areas with cold winters and cool springs. They are easy care and low maintenance. They multiply easily and make a great fresh cut flower. Select an area in the garden with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil.

It is best to plant bulbs in the fall, six to eight weeks before a hard frost is expected and the soil is below 60 degrees. This is usually in September. Prepare the garden bed by using a gardening fork or tiller to loosen the soil to a depth of 12 inches, and then mix in a 2-4 inch layer of compost.

Dig a hole 6-8 inches deep. Set the bulb in the hole, pointy end up, then cover with soil and press firmly. Space the bulbs 4-6 inches apart.

Water thoroughly after planting and keep them watered during dry spells in the fall. After plants are finished flowering in the spring, cut back flower stalks but let the leaves die back naturally, hiding unsightly foliage with annual or perennial plantings. An annual application of compost should provide adequate nutrients.

Enjoy the beginning of beautiful weather and the perfect introduction to a colorful garden with these popular bulb plants. A large selection will be available beginning April 14th so feel free to visit us at 436 Beach 129th street or on the web at www.DaniellesRockawayFlorist.com.

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