Amaryllis Bulbs

Reblogged from: Larry Hodgson, CN, Laidbackgardener.blog

WHY DO WE PLANT AMARYLLIS BULBS WITH THEIR NECK EXPOSED?

You’ve probably always been told that you have to plant an amaryllis (Hippeastrum) leaving the top third of the bulb exposed.

Thus many gardeners are convinced that this is absolutely required, that the plant will rot if ever it were to be covered completely.

However, wild amaryllis bulbs grow completely underground, like most bulbs. Why the difference?

The idea that the bulb has to be planted with its neck exposed comes from the fact that the amaryllis is largely grown as an indoor bulb. The bulb is so large that, if you did bury it completely when you plant it in a standard pot, there would be no room for the roots.

By planting the bulb with the top third of the bulb exposed, you’ll be leaving plenty of room for its roots to develop underneath. And indoors, with no predators out to eat any bulb part that is exposed, this unusual way of planting the bulb does no harm.

However, if ever you do plant your amaryllis bulb in an extra deep pot while leaving the neck exposed, you’ll discover it will actually pull itself underground over the next year or so, thanks to its contractile roots.

If you live in a mild climate where you can plant amaryllis bulbs in the outdoor garden (zones 9 to 12), you’ll find they do much better when the bulb is completely buried. Plant it in a rich, well-drained soil, just barely covering the bulb. Depending on the cultivar, it may stay at that depth or “dig itself deeper” over time.

Some gardeners even manage to grow amaryllis in zone 8 or 7b, but if so, plant the bulb more deeply, with up to 3 inches (8 cm) of soil covering it, and mulch it heavily in the autumn as well, as you’ll want to keep the bulb frost-free.

Amaryllis: the planting depth depends on root growth and cold protection. Who knew?Amaryllis Stages of Growth

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Wordless Wednesday

Submitted by:  Jon B., MG since 1996

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Veterans’ Day

Today is Veterans’ Day, but last Saturday found us working on a veterans related gardening project at the Town Commons in Madbury, New Hampshire.

The monument that anchors the Commons honors both the area soldiers who served in the Civil War and Major John DeMerritt who served in the Spanish American War.

Madbury covers approximately 12 square miles and has a population around 1,800. It is a rural area that transitioned from agriculture and lumbering in the 1800’s to a residential bedroom community today.

Madbury has a rich history and will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2018.

Photo Credit: Estabrook’s, Monrovia, Frank Otte Nursery

As part of the upcoming celebration, we cleaned up the area, replaced a couple of plants and added new ones that included:

  • Berryific Holly
  • Black Fountain Grass
  • Gold Mop False Cypress
  • Pinky Winky Panicle Hydrangea
  • Plus a large display of spring daffodils

Along with some lovely ladies from the Madbury Community Club, we joined fellow Master Gardeners, Kathy, Linda, and Fran to work on the plantings.

We were also assisted by a wonderful group of young men from MOS:DEF Fraternity (Men of Strength: Diversity, Education and Family) who helped us with the heavy lifting and the digging of planting holes.

MOS:DEF works on a variety of community projects, and it was a real pleasure to spend a few hours with these gentlemen.

Working with fellow Master Gardeners, Madbury residents, and UNH students made for a great afternoon as we updated the Commons planting area.

Happy 2017 Veterans Day to all who have served our Country in time of peace or war. 🇺🇸

If you’d like to know more about Madbury’s history, here are some links.

Submitted by:  Noreen Gaetjens, MG since 2001 and Judy V., MG since 2007

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Wordless Wednesday

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Forest Bathing

Reblogged from NH Garden Solutions, Keene…

There is a new thing, or maybe it’s a very old thing with a new name, called forest bathing. To practice it you go into a forest and walk slowly. You breathe in the forest air and open all of your senses and just be part of the forest. Once again I find that I’ve been doing something for my whole life without knowing it had a name, but practitioners say that forest bathing reduces blood pressure, improves mood, increases your ability to focus, and accelerates recovery from surgery. All of these benefits have been studied quite extensively, and there is even evidence that trees give off compounds that boost our immune system to help with things like fighting cancer. They also say that being in a forest gives you a deeper and clearer intuition, an increased energy level, and an overall increase in your sense of happiness. I’d have to agree. I’ve always believed that nature has very strong healing powers, and to reap its benefits you need do nothing more than just go and walk or sit in the woods.

I hope that everyone has their own special forest that they can easily get to. If you can, try to make regular visits to it. Don’t turn it into a job; just walk through and relax and enjoy the beauty of nature. After just a surprisingly short time I think you’ll notice that you’re becoming a different kind of person. Happier, more at ease, more energetic, and less stressed. You might notice that you are beginning to see with different eyes, and that your mind has quieted. One of the benefits I most enjoy from being in the forest is the seemingly endless supply of simple joy. I do hope you’ll find the same in your own forest.

For full post:  NH Garden Solutions

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Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Wordless Wednesday

Submitted by:  Jon B., MG since 1996

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Fall Gardening Check List

By Clara Beaufort (Founder and CEO of GardenerGigs.com)

Photo credit: Pixabay

One of the great things about fall is that it’s the end of the summer heat and all the outdoor chores required. But there’s still plenty to do to get ready for the winter so that come spring, you’ll have a lush lawn and gorgeous garden, ready to bloom.

Whether you have a flower or vegetable garden, a lawn or any combination of the three, you have a list of fall yard maintenance chores to get to.

End the mowing season Keep mowing the lawn until the grass has stopped growing. Use your mower’s mulching feature so that the grass can be chopped up finer and distributed about the lawn. Lower the height of your mower’s blade. A shorter cut will help the soil dry out faster in the spring.

Compost — Pulling up your garden will give you lots of leaves and plant material for your compost pile. Mix green and dry materials with a shovelful of soil and an optional handful of fertilizer. Sprinkle with water weekly if there is no rain. You’ll have compost by spring. Toss spent food materials in there, too, such as egg shells, coffee grounds and celery tops. It puts these items to good use and keeps them out of the landfill.

Rake the leaves — Leaving them on the grass prevents the grass from getting the sunshine and air it needs. Add the leaves to your compost pile.

Fertilize — Two applications of fertilizer are recommended for most types of grass. The first should be applied around Labor Day, and the second when you finish mowing for the season. Nitrogen is important to your lawn’s basic needs. A soil test will tell you if you need phosphorus or potassium.

Seed the lawn — If you think your lawn isn’t thick enough or has bare spots, overseed it in the fall. Cover the seeds with straw or mulch to protect them from hungry birds.

Aerate the lawn — Fall is an excellent time to aerate your lawn, which will give the roots better access to air and water. You can rent aeration machines.

Plant bulbs — Fall is the time to plan for next spring’s tulips, daffodils, narcissus and hyacinth. Garlic — also a bulb — is great to plant in the fall, and it’s a natural insect (and vampire) repellant.

Mulch — Give your flower beds a nice, thick layer of mulch to protect the roots over the winter.

Harvest — It’s time to reap all the veggies you sowed during the spring and summer months that you haven’t yet harvested. Make a list of what did well and what didn’t so you can plan for next year.

Divide and cut back perennials — Dead leaves and stems should be removed. Perennials that are overgrown should be divided and spread out — or given to interested friends. This is best done about a month before a hard frost.

Plant cool-season annuals — Your summer annuals should be about spent, so it’s time to replace them with some fall annuals, including pansies, chrysanthemums, cabbage and kale. You can also use these to fill in spaces between your divided perennials.

Control broadleaf weeds — September and October are an excellent time to tackle those pesky weeds, such as dandelion and creeping Charlie. Most weed killers work best between 50 and 80 degrees, and the plants are still growing, so the weed killer gets distributed throughout the plant. Always follow the instructions on the label of any pesticide you use.

Fall is a bittersweet time of cooling temperatures and harvest festivals. It’s also a great time to prepare your lawn and gardens for the coming growing season and start planning next year’s crops.

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Clara Beaufort is a retired small business owner who created GardenerGigs to connect local gardeners with those in need of plant care help.

 

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