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fall cleaning

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

A perfect fall day yesterday.
Perfect for clearing out all the boxes from the last season (OK, maybe 2 seasons) of plant ordering.
I think the first step is supposed to be recognizing the problem:
'Hello, my name is Wee and I'm a plantaholic'.
Actually, I'm just clearing out space to be ready for a lovely long winter of catalog browsing...

Thumbnail by Weerobin
Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Wee that is funny! I need to clean out my garage too...
One really good thing about modern life, that big blue recycling bin where I can put cardboard.
My recycling place even accepts clean plastic plant pots!
The big gallon ones I can take to the nursery to be reused, but all those little ones can be rinsed out and recycled.

Pequannock, NJ

Lol! Is that all mail order? I'm terrible too and now that plants are marked 75% off, I'm still buying! I just got a huge Itoh Bartzella for $17.50 marked down from $70. It is suppose to have a decent bloom time for a peony. We'll see if it's true.
Yesterday I did threw out a garbage bag full of plastic pots but there is still plenty more from where that came from.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I love my Bartzella. Long bloom time. Sturdy, no staking needed. Healthy foliage, looks good all summer even after blooming! I never fertilize, never use bug killers, and hardly ever even water it.

Pequannock, NJ

Good to know! I'm still not sure where to put it.
My kitchen is full of dahlia bulbs drying. I think I have been a little too rough on them this year but they are full of centipedes and sow bugs this year.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I'm so jealous of that Bartzella steal! $17.50???
I took 5 huge trashbags of pots for recycling to Lowe's yesterday.
I couldn't close any of them, but they didn't seem to mind.
I only saved about a thousand pots in case I need them.
I enter every winter season with the promise to limit my plant ordering.
But those catalog writers know how to strum my string ...
I'm trying to resist ...

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Hey Wee-
Maybe we could do some kind of trade in the spring- Several years ago I wanted something that pfg had, She wanted a division of my Bartzella. It was spring, usually peonies are divided in fall I guess, but I said I would try to do a "shovel full kind of division from the edge. I couldn't dig it up, it had huge woody roots like a tree, but I hacked out a chunk. I could not bear to send it to her it was hideous, I told her I would dig it up proper in the fall for a proper division It did not look like regular peony roots and I could not figure out how to do it. I put the root chunk in a gallon pot on my porch. It thrived! So I mailed it to her in early fall, and it grew.
So. You have all kinds of neato bulbs and things. I could go out with my Skilsaw and pruning blade in the spring, dig up a chunk of root, and for the cost of a medium USPS box I bet we could do some business.
Loretta last year I tried to save Dahlia bulbs, put a huge amount of work into it. They rotted :-(

Pequannock, NJ

Good to know about Bartzella. There is at least one more Bartzella back at the nursery with noticeable buds. There were more around town but I didn't see buds so I didn't bite. I guess no one really knows what they are and they were so past their prime so lucky me.
I had very bad dahlia rot last year too but usually I'm successful. On top of that, the first flowers were all deformed. I think because I used Miracle Gro from the hose this year which I knew was a mistake. For some reason, I tried it again. Most of them outgrew it. Many of my dahlias are seedlings so I can't just replace them. I have to try to save. I have lost a few favorites over the years. If they are healthy next year without any deformity, I'm going to try to spread them around because they are very good for the bees.
I am a sucker also for the winter pottery sales. But one thing I noticed is that as beautiful as a pot may be, it doesn't always look so nice back home. I ended up with such a mish mash, I gave a lot of them away last year and kept certain ones. Honestly though, I can never find pots as beautiful as the very shapely plainly finished ones I see online.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I just threw a bunch of boxes in the pickup bed a couple of days ago and took them to the recycling center. I had as many as you did, Wee. I've cleaned my garage for the winter. Hopefully, it will stay fairly nice all winter long.

Loretta, what a good deal on the peony. Our garden centers are fairly empty and the box stores have closed up for the winter.

Edited to add:
Every year I say I'm not going to buy more stuff. My yard is so full of plants. I moved some Asiatic lilies last week. When I dug into the ground to relocate them, there were daffodils in the place I wanted to put the lilies. That's pathetic.
I also divided a bunch of plants this year that needed it badly.
I just bought a couple of Aquilegia 'Swallowtail' from High Country Gardens. I bought two and received one free. I thought that was a pretty good offer.
Today, in the mail is a $10.00 coupon for shopping with them. And so it goes...
:-(

This message was edited Nov 15, 2016 4:53 PM

Pequannock, NJ

It's amazing how fast after the plants die back that you think you have all this room for more plants.

Birder, you know people layer lilies and daffodils on top of each other, especially in containers. I've never done it but here is a link for a "bulb lasagna" by Sarah Raven.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhWZD7S6FBM
Do any of you watch Sarah Raven's Youtube channel? I love it.

This message was edited Nov 16, 2016 8:43 AM

This message was edited Nov 16, 2016 12:44 PM

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Yes, I know you can layer bulbs, but my daffodil bulbs work their way to the top of the soil. I've got a small bucket of them in the garage that I dug up while planting "other stuff" in the area. They are right below the surface. Does anyone else have that problem? I dig them deep enough when planting, but over the years, they come to the surface.
I did replant the daffodils by the lilies.
The bucket full in my garage will be planted soon, maybe today. I'm going to plant my winter bulbs today or at least some of them.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Birder, I have that problem with daffs too.

I gather them up in the garage, and then pick a spot (preferably near plants rabbits like) and replant them.

I have most of my bulbs in the ground. I replanted last year's dug up tulips in less prominent locations. I still have a few alliums to put in, and I am drying separating the dried out callas and glads so I can move them from the back yard to the basement before the freeze at the end of the week - just want to make sure buds aren't coming along for the ride!

Pequannock, NJ

I can't say I noticed it because many of my daffs don't come back. Then I don't plant them so much because they take too long to die back. I have a couple of favorites and that's good enough. Otherwise, I've started putting them in buried pots so I can lift them.
I never tried layering bulbs and don't even like to mix them much because of the foliage left behind is all different sizes but lilies are a different story since they aren't strappy and the season is so different. That I'd be willing to do.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I notice that some come back better than others. The division 1 Mount Hood is my best returner and multiplies a lot. But I planted three different triandrus daffodils (Thalia, Silk Shot and Tresamble), all from Old House Gardens - the best, and none showed up. I planted two sets of what was supposed to be a division 1 by Grant Mitsch with a pink trumpet called Vie en Rose. Very expensive because division one pink trumpets don't seem to exist. They were reclassified as division 2 (small cup) which means they were overpriced (10 for $19) and they didn't return after one year.

But Mrs. Backhouse does wonderfully. There is also one called Geranium that was already in my yard and comes back well. And WP Milner, which I use mostly for pest control, does really well.

So I learned two things:

No triandrus, no matter what anyone says.

No new expensive bulbs (something I learned long ago about perennials.)

Here is Mrs. Backhouse: the first "pink". More apricot. Heirloom. Just added some to another spot.

Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Pequannock, NJ

Good to know about Mrs. Backhouse because my pink didn't even show up the first year. I forgot which one it was but it looked similar.
As for triandrus, Katie Heath returns for me but it isn't a favorite of mine.
Some of my favorites that return is Red Devon, Sun Disc, Mary Gay Lirette, Cassata, Prof Einstein, Dallas to name a couple.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Many years ago there was a hybridizer who crossed daffodils and he also crossed Iris, and daylilies.
He gave me and a couple of other ladies a tour of his garden/s. At the end of the tour, he gave us some daffodils he had crossed that were supposed to have pink centers. I thought mine had died, but the past few years there have been those pink centered daffodils. I'm not sure if he had named them or not.
The point is the daffodils took a long time to develp into a small clump.

It annoys me the daffodils climb to the surface of the soil. But, it's good to know someone else has the problem! :)

Pequannock, NJ

Do you think your daffodils come up due to frost heave? I don't think I have that problem with daffodils in general but I do have things heave in the winter.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I don't know what makes them come to the surface. You wouldn't think it was frost heave because they are planted at least 6" below the surface.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I think that sometimes it's sheer vigor. I may be wrong about that, but my Mt. Hoods not only multiplies like crazy, but when I was leaving my old house I realized that a LOT of them were at the surface. It's really an interesting daff, because it starts out with a cream colored cup. Having asked for a white trumpet, I thought that they sent the wrong one. But it changes to white! These are the same daffs. The second picture is three days after the first.

It's like getting two.. two.. two daffs in one (wow, I date myself)!

Thumbnail by DonnaMack Thumbnail by DonnaMack
Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Oh, I meant to add that I used to have terrible problems with lilies because I was afraid to dig around for them since, for the most part, you can't see where they are. Two years ago I got a brainstorm. I went to a store (World Market) and got a bunch of really attractive wooden chipsticks. Now, when I cut down a stem, I stick a chopstick into the ground. If there is a clump, I put a chopstick on either end.

It's great - I no longer slice them, and if I have a big clump that needs to be moved (usually because it is too close to grasses) I know exactly where it is.

Age can be a good thing! I marvel at what I've learned since I put that first seed to pot in 1996.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

Donna, that is a good idea.
I have a bunch of dafs that need to be re-planted.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Well, we finally got REALLY nasty weather (without the wind chill, 5 degrees). I dug up the tender plants and brought them into the house about three weeks ago. They include a lovely little abelia (third year in the house) two white dianthus I was given (office window) a salvia elegans and a salvia patens, as well as a scented geranium. Also a red abuliton.The callas and glads are on flat pot surfaces in the basement, and some muhlenbergia are in the basement in semi dormancy. I left one muhlenbergia outside because there is an apparent debate as to whether they are zone 5 or 6 hearty. I'm so glad I learned that I can do this, because otherwise I would have kept buying new plants every year.

To get rid of pernicious weeds, I got down some cardboard. I have done it before to get rid of creeping charlie and violets. I just put it down in overlapping patterns and it zaps everything. Then I am going to establish a ground cover of my choosing.

Now to continue reading books on gardening, picking plants for spring and preordering. I think I already know what the roses will be - Sea Foam and perhaps a hybrid musk.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I love the winter 'gardening' season, even though I'm basically doing nothing.
I just ordered 12 plants online from a Japanese nursery.
God knows what I'll get.
Couldn't order 13, or it would have triggered need for an import license.
If any of them survive (I guess they first would have to 'arrive' - not a sure bet),
you can be sure I'll post pictures!

Pequannock, NJ

What did you order? You can't leave it at that!

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Pulsatilla taraoi
Pulsatilla sugawarii
Mertensia pterocarpa var. yezoensis
Lagotis glauca
Adonis multiflora 'Sandan-zaki'
Synurus excelsus
Ranzania japonica
Pteridophyllum racemosum
Ainsliaea faurieana
Ainsliaea dissecta
Polygonatum odoratum 'Dai Kouga'

I started to post some pictures of them I found on line,
but I don't think I'm supposed to, since they're not my pictures.
You can google any you're interested in.
The two pulsatillas are really pretty.
I've tried both ranzania and pterodiphyllum at least twice, so far no luck.
And I've been nursing a pitiful ainsliaea for years (A cordifolia) -
these are two different Ainsliaea species.
It's just an amusing experiment for me.
Plants should arrive shortly after new year. We'll see.

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

I love your "amusing experiments".

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

I'm glad to hear it - my wife isn't always as amused...

Pequannock, NJ

Quote from Pistil :
I love your "amusing experiments".


I agree! Are these mostly alpines? I see a lot of mountain tops and stone on the first few googles.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

A mix. Some are woodland plants (ranzania, pteridiphyllum, ainsliaea).
I'll put the alpine ones in my scree planters.
I've got a few alpines looking awfully robust after 3 yrs in steamy St Louis.
Of course, a tragic end for many others.

Pequannock, NJ

Well you have to share which alpines make it in humidity. Saint Louis can't be worse than NJ.

Pittsburgh, PA

Found this info online, interesting.

Confused about the right planting depth for flower bulbs? Trust the bulbs! Researchers have discovered that some flower bulbs are actually "smart" enough to adjust themselves to the right planting depth. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science proved that bulbs can adjust their planting position by moving deeper into the ground, apparently in search of moister, more conducive growing conditions.
Summarizing the team's research, Leopold said that many plants have the ability to move down into soil--either to establish a more protected or stable location as in the case of many bulbs and tubers, or to provide stability for the plant. Bulbs "know" how to move down where environmental conditions are more constant.


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