Fine Gardeners Blog

Spring Bulbs

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Monday, April 29, 2019
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

Where are my tulips!? A question many gardeners ask themselves every year, and although many different species are readily available, they all have one thing in common: a frustrated gardener.

Tulips are sensitive to many variables, such as changes to weather patterns, soil health, hungry deer, location and competition with nearby plants for necessary nutrients. Although some species may be “more likely” to bloom in future years, the strength of the bulb tends to deteriorate after the first year due to the bulb breaking down in attempt to reproduce. In this case the broken down bulb cannot store as much energy as necessary for growing a nice strong bloom the following year. It is also important to keep in mind that greenhouse bulbs are grown in “perfect” conditions which do not come close to mimicking “actual” conditions.

The fix? There are many other Spring bulbs available which are not only deer resistant, but will also multiply year after year, thus yielding a much greater return on investment when it comes to time, money and ultimately, enjoyment! For a consistent display of blooms, layering and mixing various bulbs can be a fun experiment, but not when they must be disturbed during the removal of those soon to be lackluster tulip bulbs.

Set yourself up for success! Tired of the excitement and letdown of seeing leaves come up with no blooms after spending hours planting bulbs? Baffled that the only tulip blooms are from bulbs buried in the woods by squirrels? There are always daffodils and crocuses, but why not try one of these fun options instead:

Chionodoxa

Beautiful, star-like flowers in blue, white, pink and lavender. An eye catcher in multiples.

Grape Hyacinth

A perfect mini purple/blue “bunch of grapes” with somewhat drooping leaves.

Fritillaria

Larger, bell-shaped flowers with a checkered pattern and various color options make these often overlooked bulbs intriguing to the eye.

Scilla

Petite, slightly drooping blue/purple flowers - a classic and reliable bloomer for years to come.

Allium

Taller than the average Spring flower, these large, globe like bright purple puffs really stand out.

Snowdrops

One of the first flowers to bloom in Spring. Very sweet, bright white, downward facing blooms.

Anemone

Many varieties in various colors that are lower growing and will make your garden pop with character.

For more information on spring gardening, contact Paul at Fine Gardeners.

Post written by Cilla Denham

Garden Center Impulse Buying, Resist The Temptation, Part II

Paul Marini - Marini Fine Gardeners - Wednesday, November 28, 2018
Fine Gardeners, Brookline, Newton, Needham, MA

For many of us, visiting the garden center in the Spring can be worse than a kid in a candy shop. The selection and choices are overwhelming. So shouldn’t it be an easy task to fill up your car with beautiful plants that are all flowering and plop them in your yard? It’s easy to purchase them, but is this the right approach?

The antithesis to impulse buying is designing a garden area before you go shopping or at least have a list of plants that are well-thought out as part of a plan. With this approach, you won’t be tempted to buy everything that is being marketed to you. The most common mistake most novice gardeners make is to do all the plant shopping in the Spring. They usually end up buying plants that are flowering without knowing how long they will bloom or what the plants will look like after they are through flowering. This will result in a garden that is full of color, perhaps too much color, in the Spring and not much going on the rest of the year.

It’s best to either consult with a designer or have a sketch and a list prepared by a designer before you go shopping. Your designer can choose a combination of plants that will provide color throughout the season and will complement each other while staying within specific color schemes. Of course, there will be an initial cost for this service, but it is a worthwhile investment. You will enjoy your garden while avoiding years of expensive mistakes and frustration.

Here is a short list of things to consider before you go shopping:

  • Prepare a plant list.
  • Stay within a specific color scheme.
  • Give your plants the appropriate space they need. It’s best to plant most perennials in groups of 3 or 5 or more.
  • If you have rabbits or deer, choose plants that are less appealing to them.
  • Consider what the plant will look like after it has flowered. Is the foliage attractive? Is the form pleasing? Does it go dormant during the summer? Is it invasive?
  • Do some research to find the best varieties for the type of plant you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for Penstemon, common name Beard Tongue, ‘Dark Towers’ is one of the best varieties available. Check it out and you will see what I mean.
  • Choose plants to provide color and interest throughout the year.
  • Consult a garden designer who can help you with this list. Experience and plant knowledge guides the designer to choose the best varieties for your garden.

Happy Shopping!


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