Rick: Coming to you from Studio A at Proven Winners ColorChoice shrubs. It’s bulb planting time, so use your tulips and speak to me. It’s the Gardening Simplified show with StaceyHirvela, our engineer and producer, videographer, photographer Adriana Robinson, and me, Rick Vuyst. Well, Stacey, I love fall planted bulbs that bloom in spring. And at some point, we’ll talk about spring planted bulbs, usually tubers or rhizomes that you dig up in fall. on another show. But these are the fall planted bulbs and what a history they have.
I think I’ve mentioned on the show before that my parents survived the hunger winter of 1944-45 in the Netherlands and ate tulip bulbs to stay alive. Of course, there was also Tulipmania in the 1600s where investors lost track of rational expectations and then realized they were holding an irrationally priced asset. Tulip bulbs. And there was, of course, a tulip bulb market bubble and crash. An amazing story if you’ve never read about this story. Lots of lots of fun to read – here’s a link from Investopedia. It’s an example that’s still used today by investment experts.
Stacey: It was a doozy.
Rick: It was a doozy. But you summed it up beautifully. I used a lot of words to get to that point. You did it with one word doozy. All right. So today is planting bulbs in fall is easy as dig drop done. That’s how the industry promotes flower bulbs, as you can see on digdropdone.com. They have a personality quiz that you can take. I’ve taken the personality quiz which tells you what kind of flower bulb you are.
Stacey: Oh, So what was your result?
Rick: I’m afraid to say.
Stacey: Oh, no, I didn’t take it so I can’t share mine.
Rick: But it’s grape hyacinth.
Stacey: Oh, well, that’s wonderful.
Rick: My reaction: Oh, it’s an invasive plant.
Stacey: Well, but it’s darling, plus, you like blue.
Rick: Well, you know, it says if you live a life of abundance, never settling for simple or plain, you’re in company with good friends. You like to breathe life into a party, like to socialize, that sort of thing. Then then you’re a must carry. So anyhow, that was my take the quiz.
Rick: Okay. Through the years of planting bulbs in fall, I’ve learned these are the key elements. Number one, drainage. Drainage, all important.
Stacey: It’s key. I mean, all the areas where bulbs are native to are mountainous areas with really good drainage and typically very dry in the summer.
Rick: Bingo. Central Asia, Iran or Persia. As early as the 10th century, they came to Europe. Daffodils from Northern Africa. So yes, these dry areas, by the way, fritillaria is one of my favorite fall planted bulbs. Deer and rabbit resistant. When I was in the Netherlands this past spring, they were just gorgeous in beds. I took all kinds of pictures of them.
Rick: But fritllaria is is one of one of my favorites. Fritillarias, not something you have with your coffee at a donut shop. It’s a bulb that you put in the ground and fog, also known as Crown Imperial. Yes.
Stacey: The big the big tall one is crown imperial, but I have never met a fritillary I didn’t like. I don’t think they exist. They are marvelous. The checkered lily, you know, with the little, it looks like it’s checkered. For many years, I was just kind of like meh. And one year I found some on the clearance rack, and I planted them in. I adore them. They are so fascinating. And you lift up those little flowers and they have these huge, like, pea shaped, pea sized nectaries in them that are just glistening. They’re just they’re beautiful.
Rick: Fantastic. I love the way you describe that. And by the way, if you write a book, Stacey, that should be the title of your book. I’ve never met a Fritillary I didn’t like.
Stacey: It’s a mouthful, but it’s it’s accurate.
Rick: Planting depth also is super important. Now, generally they recommend planting a bulb two times its height in depth. So if a tulip bulb is two inches high, they recommend planting it six inches deep. I recommend planting them deeper. You get more life out of the bulbs. I’ve planted them as deep as a foot or more upside down. In other words, where I didn’t put the pointy side up. When spring comes, they still work their way to the surface.
Stacey: They do work their way to the surface. It’s best if you can, you know, plant it with the right side up. But sometimes it’s not always so clear depending on the bulb and some bulbs, it’s even impossible really to tell which is the right side up. Something like Anemone blanda which is another one of my favorites. I adore that plant. If you can’t tell which end is up planted on its side.
Rick: You’re so right. Anemone has to be on that list. It’s just gorgeous. Chicken wire is your friend. Rodents like to dig up bulbs. So when I plant bulbs, I dig the hole to the depths I need. Put a little chicken wire in the bottom of the hole, put the bulbs in, start to refill the hole, fold the chicken wire over, and I’m good to go.
Stacey: That’s a good idea.
Rick: Yeah. And the bulbs will grow right through the chicken wire.
Stacey: Oh, yeah, no problem there.
Rick: It’s a lesson in photosynthesis. Next spring, after they’re done blooming, allow that foliage to absorb the sunlight until it yellows, it will re-energize the bulb. And for those people who struggle with deer. My top four list is Fritillary is, um, alliums, right? Yeah.
Stacey: Oh, yeah. Can’t go wrong with those. I have them all. The deer have never touched them rabbits sometimes, but not the daffodils.
Rick: Now, tulips are great for forcing in containers, or you’re going to have to provide protection in spring because they’re like candy, too.
Stacey: They are. And if a deer doesn’t get them, the squirrels will. That’s what happened when I tried to. I tried to have some tulips for forcing. You know, I put them outside to get the cold treatment and then I was planning to bring them in and then I brought them in and nothing happened. Why? Because the squirrels raided them.
Rick: Yeah, that’s frustrating. That’s frustrating. Now, all in all, bulbs to me are just like magic. They’re like magic. And if you take, for example, a tulip bulb with a sharp knife and just cut it right down the middle, you can actually see the tiny little flower in there. It’s it’s fascinating to see. So it’s just this orb of potential ready to bloom in spring.
I do recommend feeding when you put the bulbs in the ground, the feeding isn’t necessarily for next spring, but it’s for future years. And we want the bulbs to root well in the soil below the frost line before spring arrive. But like I said, it’s magic. That’s that’s what it is. It’s magic. A great thing to add to your portfolio now as an investment. Now, don’t forget the minor bulbs. Minor bulbs are a favorite because they don’t take much care. They come back year after year, generally a small sized bulb, and the flowers tend to be miniature, too. So you plant them in swaths.
Rick: But Siberian squill, grape hyacinths, miniature narcissus, snowdrops, crocus, glory of the snow, the anemones that you mentioned, and I know another one that you love and that is Iris reticulata.
Stacey: I love it. Yeah, I have a bunch of them and they’re just so tidy and neat and unlike some other bulbs that maybe don’t age gracefully, kind of start getting a little ratty – I’m looking at you, daffodils, though they’re worth it. But by the time you know, May rolls around, you’re a little like I’m done with the daffodils. Not so with the Iris reticulata. They really just remain really elegant and interesting, even as their foliage grows out.
Rick: Well, if you can take a shot at daffodils, I can take a shot at hyacinths. Bear in mind that if you’re planting hyacinths – oh, it makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Many people, at least 50% of people, get a skin dermatitis. Itchy, awful feeling from handling hyacinths
Stacey: From handling the bulb.
Rick: Yes. So wear gloves if you’re planting hyacinths, they’re kind of polarizing, like cilantro. So, you know, you go to the spring garden shows and they have hyacinths everywhere. And some people love it and some people are like over powered by it.
Stacey: So I’m in the love camp.
Rick: There you go. See? So it’s polarizing. Anyhow, that’s it for bulbs. Make sure you put some in the ground this fall. And coming up next, Plants on Trial. Let’s see what magic Stacey has to unveil for us. That’s coming up next here on the Gardening Simplified show.
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Rick: All right, it’s time for branching news here from studio have proven winners color choice shrubs. And today on branching news I’m going to start things off with bears, those little lovable fuzz balls. We all love bears. And here’s the branching news. They’ve moved pasture, a bird feeder and your trash can. They’re interested in something else. A week ago, a story from Anchorage, Alaska.
Rick: It’s the time of the year where bears are fattening up for their long winter nap, and some black bears in the last frontier must have figured donuts would help accelerate the process. So a week ago, a woman who runs a Krispy Kreme Donuts store in Alaska got an unusual call from her delivery driver. He was reporting that bears were in the back of his van.
Rick: He could hear them breaking open the packages they tried to beat on the van, but they just kept eating the donuts. They ate 20 packages of the donut holes and six packages of the three pack chocolate donuts. I don’t blame them. I like chocolate donuts. As you might imagine, the experience has caused the company to plan to do things a little differently in the future.
Rick: They’re going to learn to slide up their ramp and close the doors to make sure that bears don’t get back in there. So, of course, you know, you’ve got to thinking about your birdfeeder, your trash can, debris or food outside with bears, but they like Krispy Kreme donut.
Stacey: How many bears got into this delivery truck of them? Oh, my God, that’s terrifying.
Rick: Mama bear and a cub.
Stacey: That was not good parenting.
Rick: They walked out of this van glazed and confused and they had a glazed look on their face. Yeah. So I’m surprised they didn’t grab the wheel and do donuts in the parking lot with all that sugar, you know? But they’re just trying to get ready for hibernation. I just loved it. And I like Krispy Kreme donuts, too. I can’t blame these bears.
Stacey: Well, yeah, they’re. They’re opportunistic.
Rick: Yeah. So there you go. All right. We talked about bulbs today and. I wanted to bring this up in again. Of course we did. The the personality quiz, too. I’d like to see a black walnut take a personality quiz myself. But so I wanted to bring this up. One of the bulbs that we don’t talk about, when you hear people talk about naked ladies, they’re not referring to the band.
Rick: They’re referring to Autumn Crocus, or it’s also known as Culture Come and Surprise Lily, which is licorice. It’s because they emerge in the fall. So their fresh flowers are beautiful. They they almost look like spring, but they emerge in the fall, so the bulbs produce clumps of leaves and spring, and you have to allow them to ripen and die and disappear.
Rick: And and that’s important for the longevity of the plant. But then later on in the season, you get those gorgeous blooms. So if we’re talking about bulbs today, we do have to refer to naked ladies. I know that a friend of mine, Professor Alan Armitage, University of Georgia, wrote a book by that title, essentially making fun of the various common names of plants.
Rick: But these are two that you really want in your landscape. I find them fascinating in.
Stacey: The landscape, right. And so it’s similar to what I was talking about with the elderberry. They’re called naked ladies because they flower without foliage. So that’s where that term comes from. There’s no X-rated stuff going on here. They’re actually family friendly flowers, and I love them both. Now, the trick, though, with the culture come, which are such interesting plants, beautiful, is that they have to be planted in fall.
Stacey: So you have to actually be going to your garden center or order them online. These aren’t spring planted. They’re planted in fall right before or right as they’re blooming. And so a lot of people miss out on that. And I think it makes it really hard for garden centers to stalk them and sell them because they’re very perishable.
Stacey: They don’t last very long, so it’s worth looking up. It’s a beautiful, like pink lavender color. I have seen some houses with massive plantings of them. They’re gorgeous, but savvy gardeners are probably going to have to order these online or ask their local garden center if they can get them now, because now they are a little bit different than most of the other bulbs that we’re talking about.
Rick: Yeah, So look for cold chicken or look for what they call surprise Lily, which is licorice. lyc0ri.
Stacey: S and the course is not as hardy as culture come, so culture come. You can easily grow here in Michigan. Like course, I think. Is it the red one that’s a little bit hardier than than the pink one? I think the red one might be slightly hardier, but if you’re going to try out the licorice, definitely go near your house someplace a little more protected.
Rick: I love your color commentary. I’m feeling like here in Studio A we need to get swivel chairs because I’m like grabbing my mug and then looking at you answering and then looking at Andrea, Adriana and then the camera and.
Stacey: We can get you a swivel chair.
Rick: We find that a swivel, you know, an anchor chair.
Stacey: As long as it doesn’t get too creaky.
Rick: It’s nothing worse than a creaky chair. Okay, we’ll bring in some WD 40. Also, I loved this story, The study, Positive effects of tree diversity on Tropical Forest restoration. It was published in Science Advances. The experiment was set up by a university of Oxford professor by the name of Andy Hector and colleagues over 20 years ago. But essentially what they what they found is when they were trying to reforest some of these areas, when they used a diversity of trees up to 16 native trees, the area recovered quicker than when they planted a monoculture of one or two trees.
Rick: And that’s something, of course, I’ve always talked about in our landscapes, around our homes, in our communities. I think diversity is a very important thing. Having diversity in a tropical forest can be likened to an insurance effect similar to having a financial strategy of diverse investment portfolios. So a diverse mix of trees can support a much wider range of animal life.
Stacey: And you know, this I think does have ramifications for people in their own gardens. I mean, who wants to be stuck with just one boring plant? Yeah, I mean, from an esthetic standpoint, from a wildlife support standpoint, more is better. And you get to, you know, from again, from an esthetic standpoint, you don’t want something in a garden that’s just like, okay, it looks really good at this moment in spring and then I have nothing the rest of the season.
Stacey: You want that diversity, things that bloom at different times, things with different seasons of interest and features. So we can learn a lot from nature. As always.
Rick: Once again, reinforcement that diversity is important. All right, this from Ocean Shores, Washington. Like a kid in a candy store except a deer in a candy store, The owner of Buddy and Howie’s candy store in Ocean Shores sent Cuomo news security camera footage from inside their store. And it’s a fun video to watch that shows a unique visitor perusing the shelves this weekend.
Rick: The video shows a deer walking into the store through an open door, sniffs the candy and cautiously walks around before eventually making its way out. The way it came in, it.
Stacey: Didn’t eat anything.
Rick: It didn’t eat anything. I watched the video. It just kind of sniffs at the taffy and checks it out and then leaves.
Stacey: So we have to stop calling like hamsters, deer candy, because deer don’t really like candy.
Rick: Yeah, it was looking for tulips. No tulips in this store, I guess. No hostas in this store. I guess I’ll.
Stacey: Just. Candy. Boring.
Rick: I don’t know.
Stacey: Imagine if the bears had gotten in there. The ones that got in the pick out the Krispy Kreme.
Rick: Yes. The Krispy Kreme truck. Now, that would be a party. This deer just got a little skittish. You like Skittles?
Stacey: They’re okay.
Rick: I don’t like those things.
Stacey: Oh, not my favorite, but they’re all right.
Rick: Adrianna. Mm hmm. Yeah. Same here. I don’t know. Not that it’s important, but. All right, let’s see. Oh, As the annual fall migration begins across the Northern Hemisphere, apps like Merlin, which is put out by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, have caught on among birders and non birders alike by revealing just how crowded with species our surrounding areas are.
Rick: Now, I’m assuming you probably have that app. Stacey. I don’t know if you do. I have a.
Stacey: Loved one of probably the app I use the most.
Rick: Yeah. So it’s I mean, something really useful. And here’s the cool thing is that the app is free.
Stacey: Amazing. It’s such a resource that they’ve given us. Yeah.
Rick: So kudos to Cornell University and making this app available again. If you were to look for it in the App store, just look for Merlin MMR aligned and you can add that to your phone, especially as we get into the the annual fall migration. Just a a recommendation highly recommended. You bet. All right. Well, thank you so very much for tuning in the gardening simplified show look for us on Instagram.
Rick: Look for us on YouTube. Thanks for downloading the podcast, listening on radio, and thanks to you, Stacey.
Stacey: And thanks to you, Rick. And of course, thanks to Adriana and thanks to all of you listeners. Have a great week ahead!