Enhance your garden with fall bulbs

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The coming of autumn does not have to mean hanging up your garden shears and garden gloves for the year.  The fall of the year is actually the time when many of the most popular bulbs bloom, and planting fall bulbs can provide your garden with much needed color almost until the moment the first snow falls.

The fall of the year is also one of the most pleasant times to work in your garden, since the heat of summer has passed.  Many gardeners love spending the late summer and autumn days working in their garden.

In addition, fall bulbs are a great investment for the home gardener.  After all, the great thing about bulbs is that they are able to remain in the ground, ready to spring forth when their optimal growing conditions are met.  Even when they are not growing and blooming, the bulbs are still there, readying themselves for the next season.

When planting fall bulbs, one of the most important considerations is finding a suitable location for them.  Even though bulbs are very hardy, specific bulbs have their own requirements, and those special requirements must be met in order for the bulbs to thrive and show their best blooms.  The soil is probably the most important consideration.  Bulbs always do best in a well drained soil, and when bulbs fall to grow it is usually because they have rotted due to overly wet soil.

Most bulb varieties grow best in full sunlight, and it is also important to properly prepare the planting bed.  Many experienced gardeners prefer to excavate the area to a depth of between 12 and 15 inches, and then lay down a layer of well aged manure or compost.  After this layer is put down, the bulbs are spaced properly, then covered with either the original soil or with a good quality compost or potting soil.

While this method is a great way to plant bulbs, it is also a very time consuming one.  If you are looking for a less item consuming method of planting fall bulbs, you can use a bulb planter to make three to four inch wide holes.  To use a bulb planter, you simply use a twisting motion.  After the proper depth has been reached, the bulb planter is removed and the bulb can be planted.  Even though bulb planters are a real time saver for most gardeners, they do not perform well where the soil is rocky.

The most popular types of bulbs to plant in the fall season are tulips, daffodils and crocus.  In addition to these well known varieties, however, there are a number of other choices as well, including hyacinths, iris and alliums.  These types of bulbs are easy to grow and they bloom beautifully.  The chionodoxa is another popular fall bulb, and even though its earliest blooms are only a few inches in height, as it matures its blooms become ever larger.  In addition, chionodoxa are resistant to deer, so they are favored by gardeners whose gardens are often visited by these creatures.

Working with dahlias

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Dahlias are among the most beautiful and most exotic residents of any garden.  The large blooms of the dahlia are impossible to ignore, and they stand out in any garden in which they are planted.  The sturdy, large blooms of the dahlia are available in a variety of colors, and in sizes ranging from as small as an inch to as large as a foot.  In addition, the flowers themselves come in a variety of shapes.  Some dahlia blooms are shaped like baseballs, while others curve back on themselves to where they nearly touch their stems.

Dahlias are known as sun loving plants, and they definitely do better with sufficient sunlight.  Gardeners recommend providing dahlias with at least a half day of sunlight every day.  In addition, dahlias need enough water to thrive, and most varieties require from one to two inches of rain, from either rainfall or artificial watering, every week. 

In addition, dahlias need a good rich soil with plenty of organic material, a regular pruning schedule, a good insecticide to protect them from beetles and grasshoppers and possibly staking as the plants grow ever taller.  In addition, dahlias should be fed with a quality low nitrogen fertilizer as needed.

Dahlias are actually grown from a tuber, a bulb like structure, and dahlias are actually classified as bulb plants.  It is best to plant dahlias near the beginning of June, and those dahlias will usually bloom around October.  Dahlias can be planted earlier in the season as well, and those dahlias will provide late summer blossoms.  Dahlias should be dug up after the first frost of the year.  After being dug up, the dahlias should be divided and stored for the winter.  Doing so will allow the gardener to replant the dahlia tuber the following year.

Dahliascome in a great many varieties, but one of the most popular varieties is the David George.  The David George variety of dahlia features a bloom of deep red color and medium size.  Other popular dahlia varieties include the Bonaventure, featuring large bronze colored flowers, and the Allie Yellow, with features a tiny yellow bloom.

In addition to staples like orchids and roses, dahlias are often seen at flower shows, and many gardeners grow dahlias purely for these competitions.  A prize dahlia can certainly be the star of any flower show, due to their striking beauty and large size.

 Enhance your garden with sunflowers

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Sunflowers are certainly stars of the gardening world.  It is hard to miss the beauty of sunflowers standing tall, either on their own or edging a bed of more traditional flowers.  Few who have seen these stunning beauties can deny their stunning beauty and attractiveness.

The family of sunflowers, known scientifically as genus Helianthus, includes both annual and perennial varieties of sunflowers.  As their name implies, sunflowers generally prefer full sunlight, so it is important for gardeners to choose the sunniest part of their garden when planting these stunning plants.

It is also important to take the adult size of these plants into account when planting them, and to space them accordingly. Most varieties of sunflowers are quite large, so it is important to space them widely so they will not crowd each other out and compete for nutrients.

Since sunflowers are so large and sturdy, many gardeners like to use them to border vegetable gardens, and a vegetable garden bordered by sunflowers is certainly a beautiful sight.

The blooming period of sunflowers typically extends from late summer to early fall, and the growing requirements for these plants are generally easy to meet.  Most varieties of sunflowers require only a well drained, modestly fertile soil in order to thrive. It is generally a good idea to amend the soil with either aged manure or a good quality commercial fertilizer.  It is best to sow the sunflower seeds directly where they are intended to grow, since they set seed quickly and start to sprout very fast.

While sunflowers may be easy to grow, their seeds are popular with many unwanted garden visitors, particularly rabbits, squirrels and insects.  Due to this popularly with common garden pests, it is best to sow three times as many seeds as are needed.  Planting extra seeds will allow the four legged visitors to your garden to eat their fill while still providing a beautiful garden full of sunflowers.

Sunflower seeds are best planted about a foot apart.  Sowing the seeds this far apart will allow the adult plants to grow the largest heads.  If you plant sunflowers closer together they will develop smaller blooms and may never reach their full potential.  If you are growing sunflowers for those monstrous blossoms, it is important to give them plenty of space to grow.

When working with annual varieties of sunflowers, it is important to rotate the planting area.  This will keep the soil its healthiest and allow the sunflowers to achieve their best blooms.

There are many places to buy quality sunflower seeds, including the internet, mail order houses and local garden centers.  As with any flower seeds, it is important to follow the planting instructions carefully to achieve the best results from these spectacular plants.

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