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Planting_and_Caring_for_Flower_Bulbs

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					Title:
Planting and Caring for Flower Bulbs

Word Count:
824

Summary:
Would you like to have a beautiful display of spring flowers in your yard
but you don't know where to start? This article provides everything you
need to know to plant and care for spring bulbs.


Keywords:
planting bulbs,flower bulbs,spring bulbs


Article Body:
There is nothing quite as welcome as those beautiful spring flowers that
seem to emerge from nowhere to welcome the arrival of spring. Bulb type
flowers are really unique plants, because they spend most of their days
resting quietly beneath the surface of the soil. Then right on schedule,
up they come, full of bloom and vigor, and then almost as fast as they
came, they go. Except for the green leafy part of the p lant that tends to
linger longer than we would like them to.

Despite their short bloom time and unattractive foliage after the blooms
are gone, they are still a wonderful addition to any landscape. But how
should you care for them? First let’s talk about how to use them in your
landscape. Flowers of all kinds are best when planted in groupings. Many
people buy 25 or 50 bulbs and just go around the yard planting helter
skelter. That’s fine if that’s what you want, but when planted that way
they tend to blend in with the landscape and really don’t show up well at
all. When you plant them in large groups they are a breathtaking
showpiece.

In the early spring start thinking about where you would like to create a
bed for flower bulbs. Prepare the bed by raising it with good rich
topsoil, and if at all possible add some well composted cow manure. Do
this in the spring while you are in the gardening mood; you may not be in
the fall. Over the summer fill the bed with annual flowers to keep the
weeds down, and to pretty up your yard for the summer. Come fall all you
have to do is pull out the annuals and plant your bulbs to the depth
recommended on the package.

If you think you could have a proble with squirrels digging up the bulbs
and eating them, you can also wrap the bulbs in steel wool, leaving just
the tip of the bulb exposed so it can grow out of the little wire cage
you’ve created. Or you can just plant the bulbs and then cover the bed
with chicken wire or plastic fencing until the bulbs start to grow in the
spring.

When the bulbs come up in the spring and start blooming, you should clip
off the blooms as they start to wither. This keeps the bulb from
producing seeds, which requires a lot of energy, and you want the bulb to
use all of its available energy to store food in preparation for the
bulb’s resting period. Once the bulbs are completely done blooming you
don’t want to cut off the tops until they are withered and die back. The
million dollar question is how to treat the tops until that happens.

Many people bend them over and slip a rubber band over them, or in the
case of bulbs like Daffodils tie them with one of the long leaves. This
seems to work because it is a very common practice among many experienced
gardeners. However, Mike is about to rain on the parade.

I strongly disagree with this theory because back about 6th grade we
learned about photosynthesis in science class. To recap what we learned,
and without going into the boring details, photosynthesis is the process
of the plant using the sun’s rays to make food for itself. The rays from
the sun are absorbed by the foliage and the food making process begins.
In the case of a flower bulb this food is transported to the bulb beneath
the ground and stored for later use.

So basically the leaves of the plant are like little solar panels. Their
job is to absorb the rays from the sun to begin the process known as
photosynthesis. If we fold them over and handcuff them with their hands
behind their back, they are not going to be able to do their job. It’s
like throwing a tarpaulin over 80% of a solar panel.

In order for the leaves to absorb the rays from the sun, the surface of
the foliage has to be exposed to the sun. On top of that, when you bend
the foliage over, you are restricting the flow of nutrients to the bulb.
The veins in the leaves and the stem are a lot like our blood vessels. If
you restrict them the flow stops.

You decide. I’ve presented my case. Bending them over seems to work, but
I’ve spent a lot of money on my bulbs. I want them running at full speed.
What I do is clip the blooms off once they are spent, and just leave the
tops alone until they are yellow and wilted. If they are still not wilted
when it’s time to plant my annual flowers, I just plant the annuals in
between the bulbs. As the bulbs die back the annuals tend to grow and
conceal them. If one shows through I clip it off. It seems to work well
for me.

				
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posted:10/9/2010
language:English
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