Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Planting Lilac Seed And Bulbs

During the summer I spent some time potting up a few double-layered purple lilac seeds sent to me by someone from my gardening forum. The person providing the seed was happy to share the seeds since the lilacs turned out so beautifully. Since we only have one lilac in lavender I was more than happy to receive the seeds through the mail and thanked the person profusely. Besides the double-layered lilac seeds there are also two other sets of seeds, a purple traditional (no doubt what we have) lilac and a wild white lilac. One of our three lilac trees in the back yard in Petaluma had one branch of white lilac blooms, really pretty. In the coming weeks I will pot up the other lilacs and see what happens.

I planted some blazing star that same day, these little bulbs produce tall wands of purple blooms that look similar to the bloom of bottle brush, only the bloom section is longer than a bottle brush. I had one pot that was dying down from bulbs planted, one set of tulips that did wonderfully in spring, the other rannuculus that did not bloom well with only two tiny flowers and die back soon after. I also had an astilbe. I know I planted the blazing star bulbs later in summer than they should be planted but thought I'd give it a try and see what happens. I planted a box of them in the flower beds in the front yard last year and nothing happened unfortunately. Since these are the two buck bulb deals I get at our local store it's not a huge loss so it is always worth the risk. This way I know which bulbs grow well and which do not, avoiding them the next planting season.

The aneome bulbs I planted in a pot with the hosta on the back deck did very well and sent up plenty of leaves and shortly after sending up flower stems. The blooms are a mix of white and purple, the white are really pretty since I've planted purple aneome bulbs before but never used white. Generally aneome bulbs bloom full size the first year, very reliable for bloom, then grow smaller the second year with smaller blooms. After that point if you are lucky the third season you may see a few small aneome bulbs bloom but by then a new planting of bulbs is a good idea.

I realized repotting my hanging fuchsia baskets is probably a good idea for next summer season. Even though everything is growing relatively well, the dirt is compacted and the fuchsias are not blooming at their best. We replanted most of the baskets with half new soil and an experiment using burlap as the container in the metal baskets, which seems to be working out well so far. The coco fiber linings really don't hold up well after a season or two, particularly with the windy weather here on the north coast, and frankly it's fairly expensive to buy new liners so often. The coco fiber is popular with our wild birds however since they like to pull the fibers when it's time for nest building. The burlap holds up well, next time we'll cut it precisely to fit the baskets, use all new dirt with time released fertilizer in place, and replant the fuchsias. I think the burlap will last much longer than coco fiber, and there is always moss if the burlap doesn't perform well over the next few years.

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