Monday, November 17, 2008

Blogger's Super Glitchy Tonight!

Howdy folks, just an update here: I was all set to get a quick post up tonight, but Blogger's acting up again and though it claims to be uploading the photos I wanted to post, they're refusing to appear on the page. Hopefully this is just one of those temporary Blogger hissy fits (as it's wont to do from time to time), so sorry about the lack of photos!

With some halfway decent weather today (in the mid 40's) Fernymoss did manage get all the rest of the bulbs planted around in the garden and in parts of the yard, something we've been trying to get done for the past few weeks! First Halloween got in the way, then the weather went south (at least the good weather did!), and with all the rainy, cold days we've had lately it's been nearly impossible to complete the task. But thanks to Fernymoss, they're all in the cold ground now, ready for their winter naps before emerging in the spring. This year we decided to forego any new tulips, partly to save money and partly because we doubted we'd have the stamina to do such labor intensive plantings this fall, given how busy things around Casa IVG have been. So, since I can't post images right now, I'll just give you a preview of what all we planted, via links to our source, Van Bourgondien. We focused primarily on beefing up our stock of Crocus, though we did add some different bulbs, some old friends (Crocus and Camassia) and hopefully new ones Fritillaria 'Fox Grape' and 'Sicilian Honey Garlic' --an allium.

So here goes ... 96 of our favorite Snow Specie Crocus (click link to see descriptions and photos), the earliest. and to my mind, showiest of the Crocus we have. You may recall these from last Spring, and you'd have a good memory, because it's the exact same mix we first planted in 2005, and this mix has performed extremely well for us. There are some real beauties here! This addition now brings our Crocus total up to probably around 300 or so in various places ... and happily, they just keep spreading more each year! If you don't have Snow Crocus in your garden, you really owe it to yourself to indulge in a few dozen (at least) to start, because they are one of the very easiest bulbs to plant, only needing to go 3-4 inches down (unlike Tulips who require 6-8 inches!). For an afternoon's effort of planting them, you're more than amply rewarded with the splashes of color they provide to signal that winter's finally near its end!

30 more of the 'Giant Dutch Crocus,' also a repeat planting of a quite lovely mix of the later, bigger Crocus ... every one of this mix is a stunner when in bloom, though alas, they often fall victim to hard early rains and winds and lose their petals quickly, they are real beauties to see when they emerge and start blooming....

24 of the Fritillaria 'Fox Grape,' a new variety for us, and one we're quite excited about having in the garden. We've become real fans of the various Fritillaria in the past few years, and though we've lost both of our large, Crown Imperials due to bad winters, and our F. michailovski have been dwindling in number recently, so we decided to try another very attractive (and relatively cheap) variety. You'll have to wait until mid-spring to see them here, but I think the wait will be worth it....

8 'Sicilian Honey Garlic' (Allium sicculum) which we once tried years ago, but we were stupid and planted them in areas where they got engulfed by the early summer growth of Bee Balm and other taller plants. There's one surviving (barely) in the back corner bed bordering the sidewalk, but alas you really have to know when to expect it to bloom and then search for it, so these went in a much more prominent position out front near the Finger Rock, where we have several of the purple Globe Alliums planted. Yes, the choice of more alliums was deliberate. As I've frequently extolled the allium virtue of adding sulfur to the soil over time (protection from Powdery Mildew in susceptible plants such as Monarda), these were yet another addition to that particular soil modification. And we actually would like to see them perform in a spot where they can be appreciated too!

The last bulbs (24) to list are one of our emerging favorites, Camassia esculenta, aka 'Indian Hyacinth." This plant is also known as 'Quamash,' a Native American moniker because in the past they used them as a food source. If you search the blog, or use the labels below, you'll see some much better pictures than VB's image conveys. Camassia is a bit deceptive when it emerges because its foliage is easily mistaken for a tall grass, and it isn't until they bloom that they reveal their true beauty. We ordered the blue ones this year, and when we first planted them in 2005, we purchased a mix that also has a nice pink in it, but it's really the blue ones we now prefer. The mistake we made initially when we planted these is that we interspersed a few here and there among other larger bulbs (Tulips, Daffodils) where they tended to get lost. So this time, Fernymoss concentrated on a few mass plantings (1 bag per mass) so they'll stand out more and get their fair share of attention. Camassia does have a nice tendency to naturalize freely after a few years, so we're hoping that over time we'll get some really nice masses where they can strut their under appreciated stuff! We certainly don't have any intentions of eating them, so we're just going to encourage them to live long and prosper!

So there you have it, the inventory of fall bulbs recently planted here at the Oasis ... now the long winter wait begins.... But if you'd like revisit last Spring (what serious gardener wouldn't?), just click on the various labels below and enjoy!

Work continues to be an obstacle to blogging, but I'm going to try to post when I have some spare time at night, so do stop back frequently to see what's going on. Winter postings are always a challenge, but I've been mulling over some possible topics (ranging from film to recipes and archival photos not seen previously) to keep the garden going, while we wait for winter's passage and the renewal of the promise of a new season to come! And of course, there's always Christmas Ornament blogging in the offing ... much sooner than I'd like to admit!

So what have you folks out there been planting bulb and otherwise in your nearly slumbering fall gardens? I'd love to hear what gardeners in other zones have to say, though I'm sure that some of it would make me envious! Let us know....


Roses and Lilacs said...

Wow, you guys went all out. I was planting Saturday in the snow flurries. Still have about 30 daffodils and 100 tiny allium bulbs.

Janet said...

I'm going to cut my 12 rose bushes back and get them ready for the winter.

Then hopefully, we're getting assorted tulip bulbs and little muscari bulbs. There's one named after Mt. Hood. We'll plant those in the bedded but unused area between our sidewalk and the road and it's the only place that we know stuff isn't going to pop up. We've had surprises each spring in different areas of the property since we've moved here except those areas.

I'm not sure what I'm doing.. but I read in a local plant guide that if you can't tell which end of the bulb is up or down just plant it on it's side.

Other than that, we've just been "slave driving" the kids with raking duties. But we have more leaves than yard waste bin space so the kids rake them into piles and those piles get blown around. It's the chore that never ends, it just goes on and on my friends...

Oh yeah and we're going to let our dozen or so pumpkins find a final resting spot in our "garden" in the back. It's a raised garden that we can't seem to keep the dog out of so we've done zilch with it. I know I'm making you grimace and squirm! LOL I'll grow a green thumb or pinkie one day.

Gail said...


Wow on the bulbs...very impressive and come this spring the garden will be gorgeous!

I have about 12 alliums left...I found the bag hiding outside in the wheel barrow...who moved them out there! I never order enough bulbs,,,never and then it is too late...not to plant but to find them available! I can't wait to see your spring garden! I might go on a buying spree and find bulbs anywhere or risk envy!

Blogger gives me fits and starts when I try to upload photos on Safari. I have to use Firefox...the upload is very fast and rarely any glitches.

Take care....


FARfetched said...

When I have problems uploading, quitting & restarting the browser is usually enough to clear it up. Like Gail, I use Safari, and it still has the occasional memory leak I think.

Since you mention bulbs, what do you think about the idea of digging up a few wild violets & putting them in a pot to take to work? If they take over the office, at least it'll look better than the carpet.

boran2 said...

That's quite a list, IVG. I don't usually plant bulbs, with only perhaps half a dozen in the garden. In fact my only contribution to the garden this fall is boring mugho pine. ;-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hi Marnie,
I'd say we really did a minimal planting this year compared to 2005, and it sounds like had lots more than us! In 2005 we put in a couple hundred tulips, 200 daffodils, 100 Wood Hyacinths and a lot of crocus. THAT was going all out, lol.

Saturday was very cold here too, but it got up in the 40's Sunday, so Fernymoss figured he'd better take advantage. Good thing too, our low tonight is supposed to be 15!!!

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Janet,
I hope you had yours ordered, otherwise some places the pickins are getting slim (Van Bourgondien still has some great half price stuff left though).

Tulips and muscari make a great combo, and we had that going in our big bed where we lost all those tulips the last 2 winters.
Here's what you do hon: depending on how many tulips you get, mass them in a planting and surround them with the muscari. Dig a big trench about 7-8 in deep and place your tulips in there with maybe 2-3 in between them. You plant the muscari more toward the top, about 3-4 in down. If you happen to see some bulb food at the garden center, get some for these and sprinkle it around in the hole before you fill it in. It will give them a nice boost in their first year! I'd love to see how it all turns out in the spring ... you know you'll see our results here. :-)

Leaves, ugh. We get so many from our neighbors' trees and we do rake some and throw them in the compost. Others we just chop up with mower and use them as a mulch for the garden beds, so maybe you could do the same, especially around your roses. They make a nice protective mulch and will break down over the winter and go back into the soil. Where they belong!

That bed you don't use sounds like a great space for a compost pile! Start with the pumpkins and maybe you'll get a Punkinstein like we did this year! :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Gail!
What kind of alliums did you end up getting? Are they the globe type? I'm sure they'll make great neighbors for your Monarda. :-)

You can still order from Van Bourgondien and they are having a big clearance sale really cheap right now, though a lot of things are sold out (crocus, for example). But the site is worth browsing, especially the $5 bargain bulbs, which is where we find cool stuff. They're a reputable company we've used for years and they have great product and very speedy service if you order online!

We're DONE with bulbs this fall this year... maybe if times around here get better next year we'll be more ambitious, but not this year....

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
That's a good idea about restarting the browser (I should have thought of clearing the cache myself). I use Firefox exclusively (have since version 1.5), no Internet Destroyer for me!

Now, that's a farfetched idea about the wood violets, I have to say. You could certainly try it, but in my experience, digging up wild stuff and trying to keep it alive inside has been a futile attempt. The office environment is a very harsh place (usually) for plants in general for even tough houseplants.

Might I suggest a Jade plant? Those or Swedish Ivy can do very well in offices if they get a lot of light, and they're much more forgiving about lack of water and humidity! If you were closer I could give you starts of both of those. :-)

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey B2,
I thought I had you convinced back in Spring to plant a few crocus! They don't have to go down very deep (maybe 3"), are cheap and so much color for so little effort ... and they spread quickly all on their own!

Next year, ok? :-)

Gail said...


Hi! I am going to go on line and order more bulbs! I only ordered Sensation...But the big persians looked awesome! I have a mostly native garden in the sunny parts of the yard and I didn't want a huge showing of plants that might look out of place! The problem is I am not visual....I have to plant then assess then move them. That is why I need garden coaches to you!


FARfetched said...

You think so? Those guys are tough to kill; I figured if anything could come inside and thrive all winter, it would be wild violets. Violets tend to like shade anyway & the hard part (I'd think) would be remembering to keep them watered.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey Gail,
Got you on an allium kick, eh? I assume you have some chives somewhere ... another attractive one you should consider is the Sicilian Honey Garlic we ordered (not culinary). That could look really natural in with some of your plants. Go check out the bargain $5 page at VB if you haven't already, and I bet you'll find a lot you want. :-)

Still waiting for those commission statements, heh.

Iowa Victory Gardener said...

Hey FAR,
Go for it! I figured lack of water and light would doom them, but then I'm realistic about indoor plant challenges. You might just pull it off if you have a bright window and keep it watered frequently. Keep me posted on progress if you do indeed try it!