Tulip bulbs don't need sun, music or other amenities
while on hold
I dug out all of my tulip bulbs last Saturday (at least
those that I could find), but won't be able to replant them until
this Friday or Saturday. I put them on a screen in my little
greenhouse. Will they be OK there until next week? It gets up to 95
degrees in there on sunny days and it's dry. I wanted to move the
tulips around for a better effect.
You can hold tulip bulbs for a couple of weeks. They are not
much different than other perennials, in this respect. I sometimes
hold perennial divisions, clumps and bulbs for weeks and even
months until I get around to putting them back in.
Why put the bulbs on a screen, and in the sun? Why not keep them
cool, dark and insulated like they had been in the soil? When I
keep perennials on hold I cover the exposed roots so they aren't so
likely to dry out, and keep the plants in the shade and cool.
My tomato plants have done very well, early blooming and
early fruit and lots of continuing fruit. I watered well early on
and used a starting fertilizer on planting. No fungus, no insects
or worms. I feel great.
My plants continue to provide flowers or buds to give
new fruit. At what time will these buds not have time to provide
fruit? Should I consider nipping the buds off to permit existing
fruit to gather all the energy? If so, when?
It's not really true that flowering steals energy from fruit. In
fact, fruit probably takes precedence when it comes to getting a
share of the plant's available energy.
As for when the flowers won't have time to become fruit, that
may be now. We could have frost any time, and the nights are now
too cool for reliable fruit set on a tomato. So if you wanted to
remove the flowers I doubt you would lose anything. But I also
doubt it would make much difference, if any, in the size or quality
of the fruit already forming.
Can L.B. move that clematis?
She wrote, "I have a beautiful 3-year old Fall flowering
clematis that I planted in the wrong place, directly behind a
weeping cherry tree. I would like to move it but am worried that
I'll kill it. "
D.G. responded with this on-the-mark
Regarding moving Sweet autumn clematis - I moved one two years
ago as it was too big for its place. The transplant has taken a
couple of years to get going well, but has been fairly neglected
and is not in the best soil. I do expect it to climb halfway up the
mulberry tree next year though. It has also regrown in the original
spot, so now I have two autumn clematis! I guess I wouldn't worry
too much about killing it.
About dividing those big, tough clumps of perennials and
From D. -- "Janet, I had read your advice about dividing hostas
before doing it the wrong way. This senior gardener bent a shovel
and broke a bone in the right foot trying to dig out a large hosta.
Thanks for so many interesting and informative articles."
D.D. writes, "About dividing grasses. I have had success by
digging around the portion of the plant that I want to remove,
about 6 to 8 inches. I then use a reciprocating saw to cut under
the plant and down from the top. It is then easy to remove the part
you want to transplant. I have been very successful with this
Green thumbs up
to garden walk hosts and hostesses who care so much that they
take the time to answer even the most beginning gardener's
questions. You know who you are, who so patiently explained
groundcover and showed one of the people on the tour various plants
from that category, with a word about each plant's high and low
Green thumbs down
to assigning white hats and black hats to insects in a garden.
There is no absolute "good" and "bad" out there, it's all just
life. So for instance, the wasps that seem bad to you who were once
stung, do act as scavengers, devouring the carcasses of other
insects. Given all that insect life and death going on, someone has
to do the clean up!
Originally published 9/27/03