It was a fine but sad day to end the season. Warm and just right to plant our bulbs; scatter some seed, cut our herbs and make sure we’ve got mulch where we want it for the coming winter and say goodbye to our beautiful perennials and garden until Spring.
There’s not much left in bloom. This is what the garden looks like this week. There will still be a few things for our animal friends and plants that will give some interest in the winter:
The weather has finally taken a small turn and it’s getting cooler. It’s the perfect time to plant bulbs before the first snow arrives, which should be soon.
The volunteers gathered today and planted 400 bulbs Tete-a-tete Daffodils, just right for the front of borders (a small variety); tulips, and larger daffodils.
We planted some Tete-A-Tetes around the edge of the memorial garden and along some of the walks. Since they are shorter they will be more visible along the pathways. We planted some tulips of lighter shades to complement the rose garden along with some daffodils; and planted other tulips and daffodils everywhere. We had one area where we cut back the Buffalo Berry that left a big open space so we have plenty of iris, tulips and daffodils in that area. We planted bulbs in the lower garden and the upper garden. We had 400 bulbs so we put them everywhere!! We did not put any in the Xeriscape area as we didn’t think the bulbs went with the other plants and plans we have for that area.
Usually we plant Spring bulbs earlier but it has been so warm this year that we kept waiting. It was still in the 80’s some days as late as two weeks ago so we waited until it was cooler.
We planted our bulbs according to the what the packaging told us. When in doubt, read the package. This works well for seeds and bulbs. Colorado can be a little tricky for planting other things but seeds and bulbs can be planted according to the package, The tulips and daffodils were planted 6 inches deep. We all had our handy bulb planting tools but the best one was Al with an auger attachment for his drill. Al was in demand all over the garden to dig the holes for our bulbs. It takes less than a second to drill a nice hole for our bulbs and with 400 to plant it really speeded up our process.
A drill with an auger really speeds up the process
Remember to plant your bulbs tip up!
You can plant bulbs one hole at a time. You can plant them in a row, You can dig a big circle or trench and randomly put them in. We planted most of ours in threes so we will have little patches of threes everywhere. We had some paths where we planted them in a row up both sides of the path. It just depends on what style you like and what you want it to look like.
Soil may need to be prepared for bulb planting. Our garden beds have been worked enough that we were able to just drill a hole and plant.
Oh yeah, if you like garlic it’s time to plant now for a summer harvest.
For information on planting Spring blooming bulbs check here: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1012.html
We also had some snapdragons that have gone to seed and stuck those in so they can drop and scatter their seed. It’s a perfect time to gather your favorite perennial seeds and scatter them in areas where you would like to see them. If it’s a new area turn the soil a bit and scatter the seed and dress the area with some organic compost. Or just scatter them around in your garden and let nature take its course.
The herb garden still looks good with many plants still usable. Unfortunately we had our first hard frost and the basil froze but lots of other herbs still look excellent It’s time to cut and dry them if you would like to save them. Cut off the herbs and tie them in a bundle and hang them upside down to dry in a cool dry place like a basement or root cellar. When they are dry you can crush them and put them in bottles or bag them for winter use. A wooden drying rack works well to hang the bundles on so there is good air flow around them.
Last blog we talked about doing the last weeding (is it every done?) for the season and spread wood mulch over parts of the garden where it had deteriorated. It had been a couple of years since the garden was mulched. Hopefully this load of mulch will last as long. This will help to retain moisture, prevent erosion and keep some of the weeds down.
In preparing the garden for winter we thought about our animal friends. We have lots of nice grass and thicket, bushes and trees and bird houses for our friends. We left the rose hips and some of the seed heads for food and we have lots of rocks and some dishes out to provide water from rain or snow melt. We also have someone who can watch and provide water when needed.
Well, we weeded, planted bulbs, planted some new plants and scattered some seed. We cut back the plants we wanted to; left some with rose hips and seed heads for the animals and birds; we mulched and unhooked the hoses. I think we’re ready for winter.
If you read back over the blogs you can see how much we accomplished this year! One of the exciting things is the area where we started the Xeriscape garden. Nothing has grown there before and we think we are successful in making that area look much better. It took a lot of work pulling up the old fabric barrier, bringing in the pea gravel and rocks, and finding the right plants that we think will finally grow there. It’s a great start and we can’t wait to add more next year.
We added more new plants than we can recall, pulled more weeds than we will remember, used our new compost pile for the first time, put in some new stepping stones, added the bird houses, whacked back some overgrown bushes, pulled out some volunteer bushes, and applied for several habitat certifications. We had a blog that documents what is in bloom and when, and every work day in the garden with what we did in the garden, when we did it and how to do it. Here’s a recap of some of the things we accomplished.
Thanks to Gloria Macy and Sherrie Mitchell, our wonderful leaders, and the too many to mention great volunteers who make this project work. We hope our garden is an inspiration and educational and helps you figure out what grows well here, how it grows and how to plant and take care of it.
What will we cook up for next year? ooooo, maybe a new garden!
We just can’t wait until Spring!!