Plant bulbs now in Western Washington to enjoy spring blooms

This is a great week to purchase bulbs at the local nursery is as soon as you see them for sale, and add spring flowering bulbs to your landscape.

Western Washington has the perfect climate for growing tulips, daffodils, crocus and other spring bloomers as our mild winters and early springs are similar to what they experience in Holland, considered the bulb growing capital of the world.

The year of 2020 may be remembered for many negative things, but this month may be your chance to change the cycle of loss and lamenting and make 2020 the year you added hundreds of spring flowering bulbs that will perennialize and return for years in defiance of the darkness that was COVID-19.

This fall I will be adding more “Angelique” tulips to my front garden as this double pink variety looks like a peony but with a shorter stem that won’t flop over in the rain. I also will add more of the orb-shaped blue blooms of the flowering onion or alliums. The Allium “Globemaster” has huge blooms on stems up to 3 feet tall, and as members of the onion family this showstopper is naturally pest resistant.

Best bulb planting questions

Q. I have planted bulbs in the past and they have never bloomed. I know that down below the ground mice gnaw on my tulips, then if a few survive and get ready to bloom the deer move in to chomp off the buds! I am done with tulips. Are there any pest resistant bulbs?

A. Daffodils to the rescue! Mice and deer will not destroy daffodil bulbs underground or daffodil blooms above ground, so this is the good-to-go bulb for spring color in areas where deer roam free. You will need to protect daffodils from slugs and snails once the new shoots emerge in the spring. Like all bulbs, they need well-drained soil so they don’t rot in the winter rains.

Q. My soil is rock hard and full of rocks. It is difficult to dig holes for bulbs. Any suggestions for a lazy gardener?

A. I have two ideas for “no dig” bulb planting. The first is to scratch the soil, set the bulbs on top then cover the bulbs with 6-8 inches of topsoil. If you don’t want to have topsoil delivered to your home (deliveries are usually at least 10 yards, a huge amount that can be used on lawns as well as beds) you can purchase garden soil or raised bed soil in bags at home center stores or nurseries. Just open the bag of soil and pour it on top of the bulbs. Cover with a wood chip mulch to keep the mound of soil in place.

Q. How deep should I plant my bulbs? I have crocus, daffodils, tulips and hyacinths to plant.

A. The general rule of green thumb is to plant bulbs two to three times as deep as the height of the bulb. If you have squirrels, plant your bulbs

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Through careful planning, Iowa City woman’s garden blooms from early spring to late fall

By Dorothy de Souza Guedes, correspondent

A  towering hydrangea nearly a dozen years old stands tall at the corner of Janis and Rip Russell’s front porch; lime green spring blooms turned a warm, rosy mauve late in summer.

It is surprisingly quiet for a home near the residential heart of Iowa City except for occasional shrieks and chatter from Dickens, a large cockatoo. He’s holding court inside the house, waiting for Janis — she’s his person — to take him upstairs for the evening.

Dozens of identical, side-by-side perennial grass plants soften the chain-link fence along the Russells’ driveway. It’s a short walk around back to the patio that opens up to the surprise of a glorious urban oasis.

The back garden is brilliant with color in early September, even though Janis doesn’t plant anything special for fall. Three- and 4-foot annuals such as sturdy zinnias, plumes of celosia and climbing petunia complement perennial globes of gomphrena and spikes of salvia and veronica that bloom well into fall.

Janis plans for constantly blooming beauty and cut bouquets rather than food.

“It’s kind of like being a conductor of an orchestra,” she said.

The music begins as tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth poke through sun-warmed soil and happily announce that spring has arrived. Those early blooms quietly give way to bushy, fragrant peonies. Then the first of the 40 varieties of climbing clematis vines — the clay soil is perfect for clematis — begin to flower, late-blooming daffodils, too.

The first flush of roses burst into color and fragrance as peonies begin to fade and other varieties of clematis climb high, then bloom. Soon the glorious scent of Asiatic lilies wafts through the garden, the flowers lasting for two weeks on their sturdy stalks even when cut for bouquets.

A chorus of 200 daylilies begins as roses continue to bloom in the background. As those flowers fade, annuals strategically placed to cover flowerless foliage grow to their full height and burst into color that lasts for months.


The seasons-long color begins with weeks of fall planning, wildly scribbled notes filling page after page in Janis’ garden notebook.

Planning a Garden

Throughout the spring and summer, Janis had noted what bloomed when and how well the plants grew and bloomed.

“I want to remember all of this come next spring. That’s why I write it down,” Russell said.

She looks at the colors and decides what she wants to change for the following year. For example, her tentative plan for 2021 includes less yellow near the patio due to “overachieving” plants. She hasn’t decided what to plant in their place.

She’ll probably rearrange the zinnia area behind the garage and find a new orange seed. She bought zinnia seeds from a new company, and the color, although pretty, wasn’t true to the label.

“When I plan any colors, I want my color there,” she said.

Sometimes, she’ll cut a bouquet and walk around the yard, eyeballing it, deciding

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Non-stop Dahlia blooms and fall garden clean up – Gardening with Ciscoe

Dahlia’s give your garden a great color boost. Master Gardner Ciscoe Morris shares tips to extend the life of your blooms. #NewDayNW

SEATTLE — Few perennials can match dahlias when it comes to producing non-stop flowers. Their gorgeous blooms add beauty to any area of the garden, and if you get in half the trouble I do (How did I fail to notice those sheets drying on the clothesline when I turned on that sprinkler?) you’ll appreciate having the long-lasting cut flowers for use in Bouquets. The blooms come in almost every color imaginable with size varying from golf ball to dinner plate. Most local nurseries carry a great section of potted, ready to plant specimens. Keep an eye out for the rarer varieties with red or purple leaves. They’re exceptionally attractive with masses of colorful flowers that contrast beautifully with the wine-colored foliage. Plant your Dahlia in as much sun as possible in well-drained soil. To keep them blooming non-stop, keep the root zone well mulched and water regularly. Fertilize every 6 weeks by scratching a mixture of alfalfa meal and organic flower food into the soil around the root zone, and remove spent flowers regularly.

Most people dig and store their Dahlias tubers in winter, but I leave mine in the ground. After the foliage dies back in fall, cut the stems to the ground and mulch over the roots with a thick cover of evergreen fern fronds. The fronds are great insulators and they repel water, preventing the tubers from rotting in our cold rainy winters. Although I’ve lost a few in excessively cold winters, most survive to produce beautifully the following year. If over time, however, your Dalila begins losing vigor and produces fewer flowers, it’s a sure sign the tuberous roots are overcrowded and need dividing. Dig up the rootstock in fall after the leaves and stems turn black. Tap off the soil and dry the clumps in a frost-free area for at least 3 days before beginning the dividing process. First, discard any rotten or shriveled tubers. Next, divide the rootstock, either into individual tubers or into chunks containing a few tubers. Make sure that the tubers in the division are attached to a stem from the previous year, as those are the only ones that will produce growth the following spring. Wrap the divisions in several layers of newspaper and place them in open paper bags or cardboard boxes and store them in your unheated garage. Check the divisions now and then and if any tubers are shriveling, spritzer them with water from a spray bottle. If any long stems emerge from the tubers in storage, snap them off right before replanting in early May. Then relax. You’ll have more than enough flowers for the spectacular bouquets to make up all of the trouble you’re undoubtedly going to get into next summer.

Finally, don’t be too fastidious when it comes to cleaning up your mixed border for winter. By this time of year,

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THE SECRET GARDEN Blooms Again 25 Years Later

As Broadway remains dark, BroadwayWorld wants to make sure that you still get your theatre fix each and every day until it’s back. In our daily series Broadway Rewind, we’re uncovering footage from the depths of our archives so that you can relive magical moments of Broadway past!

Today we rewind to 2016 for the Manhattan Concert Productions 25th Anniversary presentation of The Secret Garden. The book and lyrics of the musical, based on the 1911 novel of THE SECRET GARDEN by Frances Hodgson Burnett, are by Marsha Norman, with music by Lucy Simon. The concert, directed by Stafford Arima, featured: Sierra Boggess, Nikki Renée Daniels, Daisy Eagan, Cheyenne Jackson, Ramin Karimloo, Telly Leung, Sydney Lucas, Ben Platt, Oscar Williams, Josh Young and more.

THE SECRET GARDEN is set in the early years of the 20th century and follows a young English girl named Mary Lennox who is born and raised in the British Raj, and orphaned by a cholera outbreak when she is eleven years old. She is sent away from India to Yorkshire, England to live with relatives whom she has never met. Her own personality blossoms as she and a young gardener bring new life to a neglected garden, as well as to her sickly cousin and uncle.

Below, watch highlights from the show!

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