October 22, 2008

Fall Planting for Spring Flower Display

My order of spring blooming bulbs arrived from John Scheepers. The order included 50 Dutch iris 'Rosario' and 50 'Telstar' along with 50 'Purple Sensation' allium. All bulbs arrived nicely packaged and healthy. A pamphlet of good instructions was included in the order. The larkspur seeds have been on hand for awhile.

I spent most of yesterday planting the bulbs and sowing the seeds. I raked back the mulch to the garden soil (full of earth worms). For the bulbs, I dug out trenches to space the iris bulbs 6" apart and 6" deep. I spaced the allium bulbs 4" apart and 4" deep. I lightly cultivated the soil and raked it smooth before sowing the larkspur seeds. I moistened the soil and lightly patted the seeds without covering them. I'll mist the soil everyday for awhile to help with the seed germination. Our night time temperatures this week are forecast from the upper 30s to low 50s. We've already had our first light frost.

Carissa holly, nepeta 'Walkers Low' and creeping thyme were previously planted between the stepping stone path and the fence in the outer garden. I've left those in place as the thyme and nepeta foliage will help conceal the foliage of the bulbs after blooming. The plan is to have larkspur blooming tall along the outside of the cottage garden fence. Between the larkspur and the nepeta, I planted a mix of Dutch iris 'Rosario' and 'Telstar' with allium 'Purple Sensation' for a color combination of magenta, purple and lilac.

Inside the cottage garden fence, I had to remove Spanish lavender that had been in place since fall 2005, but was severely damaged by the many rains this summer. Replacing the lavender are the geranium 'Rozanne' that I recently moved from the outer garden. These are planted beside the roses inside the fence. I had a few extra allium and iris 'Rosario' that I mixed in with the perennial geraniums.

Of course, I have a vision of what these combinations will look like, but I'm venturing into a few unknowns in terms of synchronized bloom time. The Dutch irises and allium are listed as blooming in May/June, but the irises in my garden have bloomed as early as April. I've asked around a bit about when larkspur blooms here and I get differing reports of April through June. Since this section of the garden faces south, it will probably be in bloom earlier, rather than later. If I'm really fortunate, the lavender, roses, geraniums and cottage pinks will also bloom at the same time. Wishful thinking? Only time will tell!

Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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