In the Garden with Janet B. Carson
May 18, 2013
January 2011 I planted 200 daffodil bulbs. All grew, but none bloomed in spring of 2012. In each hole I put some compost, then covered with dirt. None bloomed in spring of 2013 either but all grew. I planted 100 more in autumn of 2012. All grew but none bloomed in spring of 2013. When I say none bloomed, maybe 10 - 20 did. Each spring when they came up, about 6 - 8 inches tall, I put some compost on the surface around each plant - maybe a couple handfuls. Any ideas you can offer to get blossoms next spring?
Where are you getting your bulbs? When you buy bulbs, they contain the leaves and flowers inside the dormant bulb, so year one you should get flowers. If the bulbs are extremely small or old, they may not have a flower inside. How they are cared for after that—how long the foliage grows, how much sunlight they receive, etc. can determine how well they bloom in subsequent years, but year one, you should have blooms. Occasionally, the flower buds will emerge and erratic weather can prevent the buds from opening, but it sounds like you don't even have flower buds. The plants do need sunlight after bloom to replenish flowers the next year, but for now, the daffodil bulbs in your yard have everything set for next spring's display, so there is nothing you can do one way or the other, to determine flowering next spring. They either have flowers or they don't inside the now dormant (or soon to be dormant) bulbs.
Will artichokes grow in Arkansas?
I had a Master Gardener in south Arkansas who harvested dozens last year. She planted the plants in the fall, they overwintered and she had an excellent crop. I have seen them in Jackson, Tennessee in a garden. We often grow cardoon as a winter to midsummer ornamental plant, and it overwinters just fine. It is closely related to artichokes and I just learned that it is edible as well, so I would say yes, give it a try.
I have several forsythia bushes that are taking up too much space since they have bloomed. Now that they have fully greened up can I cut them back? If so, how much?
Now is the time to prune your forsythias. They should have at least one third of the older canes cut out at the soil line every year after bloom. Not only will this reduce their size, but make them more vigorous and give you more blooms the following year.
We have an area on our house that we would like to conceal here in Paragould. We would like to have something that would remain green all year, but bloom during the warm months. I checked online about gardenias. One site that I went to offered a "frost proof" gardenia. The description seemed to fit what we want. Do you know about these frost proof gardenias, and the amount of care they require? I am thinking about ordering one, but wanted to know your opinion before I do. I am open to any suggestions you might have other than a gardenia.
Gardenias are borderline winter hardy in Paragould. Frostproof is a variety that is more cold hardy than the average gardenia and it is lovely. The key is to know the amount of sunlight for this site. They do best with full morning sun and afternoon shade. They like a well drained, well amended site, and do need water when it is dry. But when they bloom, they are heavenly. You don't say whether the site is for sun or shade, or how tall you want the eventual plant to be. Some other evergreens that bloom in the summer, you can try abelia –many varieties with different colored foliage and white or light pink blossoms most of the summer. They will thrive in sun or partial shade. Buddleia is semi-evergreen that is great for sun. Some spring blooming evergreens are azaleas, Indian hawthorn and camellias.
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