Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Planting Brodiaea and Grape Hyacinth Bulbs

I picked up some new bulbs to add to the garden this past weekend. I had planted brodiaea (starflower) in the barrel in the back yard last year and they bloomed beautifully in early summer. I purchased two boxes of the bulbs, 24 in all and planted them in the long border in the backyard. The blue/mauve flowers should look stunning with the pink two toned fuchsias in the border. Speaking of the pink fuchsia, I was able to root two more pieces of the fuchsia this summer and planted them in a hanging basket so they can get established before next summer season.

I was able to find some grape hyacinth bulbs (muscari) to add to the front yard under the climbing pink roses. In Petaluma our backyard was full of grape hyacinth bulbs. Unfortunately I didn't think to dig some up to bring with me and it has taken me a while to find these bulbs for sale in our area. The grape hyacinth bulbs should multiply quickly once established. They work great as a ground cover and are a bright spot in the spring garden. Besides the brilliant colored grape cluster style flowers they have grass like leaves that look attractive surrounding the flowers, and the bulbs seem to be very hardy. The bulbs I planted already had a number of small bulblets attached to each of the main bulbs. Once the lavenders under the pink roses grow larger the low growing blue grape hyacinth flowers should naturalize in swaths underneath the lavender shrubs, accenting the tall stems of purple lavender flowers.

After a few seasons in the ground the cotoneaster shrub is finally taking off. The branches are a good foot long now and they are filling up with orange berries. The cotoneaster shrub is low growing and grows horizontally, spreading its branches in an arch from the center of the shrub. The cotoneaster is planted between two of the pink climbing roses that are growing against either side of the fences that form a corner. I am hoping the cotoneaster will spread outward and back into the empty corner between the two rose bushes to fill in the gap between them. Cotoneaster is often used as a ground cover and this is what I am using it for. Birds like the berries so there will be another food source in the garden, although our holly trees provide plenty of berries for robins and sparrows in winter and early spring. In spring the cotoneaster sports small white flowers. I didn't see any flowers on the cotoneaster this past spring so I am looking forward to seeing some flowers on the shrub next spring.

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