FALL BULB STORY
It's not too late to plant Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus, and a variety of other fall bulbs to create a spectacular spring flower show. Bulbs are relatively easy to plant and care for, offering years of repeat-and often multiplying-beauty. Since bulbs look better when planted in masses (at least 12 of any one variety, or even hundreds to make a profound show), the planting process can be quite time consuming. It is a determined and faithful gardener who enjoys planting bulbs. First of all, bulb planting takes place when not much else is looking good, most of our gardening rewards are ending, and the weather is often non-cooperative. Then we take a small, dull brown bulb and gently plant it in the soil. Our sole reward will not show up for several months and only then if the squirrels stay away from them. It is this hope, and vision of beauty that makes one a true gardener.
Basic planting instructions should always be included in any purchase so that they are planted at the proper depth for that specific variety. Always plant the bulb with the point to the top and it is best to mix bone meal in with the soil you've removed before covering the bulb. Plant Tulips, Daffodils, and Hyacinths where they will get plenty of spring sun; that means that you may plant them under deciduous trees since most bulbs bloom before the trees leaf out. Tulips will usually look their best the first year and blooms may get smaller each year thereafter. Daffodils can take much more abuse and will usually multiply, creating more blossoms each year. In my opinion one can never have too many of these, and feel free to mix the varieties. Crocus are planted more shallow therefore taking less time, and offer a pleasant early spring surprise wherever placed. Don't spare on crocus either.
Although some "super-stores" begin selling bulbs in August, avoid planting them until after September 15, and you may continue planting through early December.
Bulb cultivation began in Europe and Asia in the 1500's and most quality bulbs purchased today come from the Netherlands.
***The key to beautiful blossoms year after year, is to clip off the flower as soon as it begins to fade in the spring. Even more importantly, allow the foliage to remain until it turns yellow. This is difficult for a tidy gardener to do, but while the leaves are green, the plant is feeding the bulb for the following years' bloom!
Durdee Hans MacKneel
"Timing is everything. " This age-old adage is especially true when you are trying to rid your lawn of pesky crabgrass. The best time to beat the tenacious weed is just before it germinates. A popular crabgrass preventer, DIMENSION, has been formulated with fertilizers to work on crabgrass and 25 other weed species for up to five months, while nurturing the lawn and being safe to most turfgrasses and landscape flowers, trees, and shrubs.
Fertilizers formulated with DIMENSION crabgrass preventer can be applied up to eight weeks before germination and as many as four weeks after. This 12-week long application window means greater flexibility for homeowners, enabling them to treat already germinated weeds that other herbicides may miss. Here are a few more tips homeowners can use to beat crabgrass:
*Set mower blade height to about three inches, a height which prevents weeds from sprouting.
*Keep blades sharp and mow frequently.
*If there is little or no rain, thoroughly water the lawn at least once a week.
*Spread extra seed to cover bare spots in the late summer or early fall so young grass shoots have plenty of time to develop before the following spring.
*Dandelions may mean the grass is too short or that there is too little fertilizer or that the lawn has been watered too much.
*Save time with fertilizer products formulated with DIMENSION crabgrass preventer, which fertilizes while preventing weeds at the same time. the non-staining DIMENSION formula does not require more than one treatment.
For more information, write to DIMENSION CRABGRASS PREVENTER, Rohm and Haas Company, 100 Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106, or call 1-800-987-0467 or visit the Web site at www.crabgrass.com.