Heirloom Bulbs & Garden History  •  So Much More Than New
June 2013
Jun
12
2013

See Our Byzantine Glads in Fine Gardening

See Our Byzantine Glads in <i>Fine Gardening</i> – www.OldHouseGardens.com

Woo-hoo!

One of our favorite garden magazines, Fine Gardening, just published an article they asked Scott to write about one of our greatest treasures, TRUE Byzantine glads.

It’s in the August issue, on newstands now, or you can read it all here.

Jun
5
2013

Blasting: Why So Many
Good Buds Went Bad This Spring

“Why didn’t my buds open?” That’s a question we heard a lot more than usual this spring. When buds form but fail to develop into flowers it’s called “blasting.” This usually happens because the plant didn’t get what it needed, and first-year plants with immature root systems are most at risk.

Too Little Water – Spring-blooming bulbs such as daffodils and tulips need plenty of water (a) in the fall to grow roots and (b) in the spring to grow leaves and buds that open successfully. If there’s a stretch of dry weather in the fall, initial root growth will be hampered and the bulb may never catch up. The same thing can happen when there’s a stretch of dry weather in spring. Either way, once the rush of spring growth begins above ground, a bulb without plenty of roots may manage to develop foliage and buds, but if it can’t draw up enough water fast enough, those buds will blast.

New Bulbs and Late Planting – Inadequate root development is more often a problem for newly planted bulbs, and even more so for bulbs that are planted late in the fall.

High Temperatures – When spring heats up or temperatures spike, even bulbs with good root systems can struggle to supply their buds with enough water to make up for what’s being lost through transpiration. When they can’t, the buds blast. Late-blooming varieties are most at risk, as well as bulbs planted in hot spots.

Too Little Sun – Sun-loving plants such as marigolds and peonies won’t bloom well in the shade, and the same is true of sun-loving bulbs. If they can’t photosynthesize enough to fully develop their buds, they’ll blast.

Storage Problems – Dormant bulbs should be stored at temperatures above freezing but cooler than 72 degrees or so, and protected from ethylene gas which is contained in automobile exhaust fumes and produced by ripening fruit.

Doubles, Etc. – To develop their many extra petals, double flowers require more moisture and sunlight, which means they blast more easily. Pheasant’s-eye narcissus do, too – and especially double pheasant’s-eyes – because their roots develop slowly and they bloom late when spring is at its warmest.

Solutions – In most cases – and especially for newly planted bulbs – the most important thing you can do is keep your bulbs well watered from early fall, when they start growing new roots, until a couple of weeks before the ground freezes solid (or all winter if it doesn’t), and then again in the spring while they’re busy producing leaves and flowers. If you do that, and Mother Nature is kind, you can expect to have very few blasted buds and lots of beautiful spring flowers.

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