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garden questions

Emily Oster

Astilbe plant via  BHG

Astilbe plant via BHG

Current garden questions...

1. How to store daffodil bulbs?
Over Memorial Day, I dug up a bunch of daffodil bulbs and just left them sitting in our garage. I plan to replant them in the late fall but don't know what to do with them until then. That is until I did a little research...According to some quick googling, it looks like you want to store them in a ventilated area, not in direct sun or exposed to any heat or dampness. A couple of suggestions were: to hang them in an old onion bag or in pantyhose, place them on an elevated screen or put them in a box with peat moss. I think the onion bag sounds the easiest so I am going to give it a try. I am undecided on location but am thinking in the corner of our basement might work seeing that it is no longer filling with water - although it is probably still a little damp.

2. What's the deal with yellow leaves on my raspberry bushes?
I finally got around to adding some more compost to my raspberry bushes. I also pruned away some yellow leaves. The yellowing isn't pervasive but it does make me worry about disease. I would love it if an experienced grower would just come and tell me if I am providing the right growing conditions. Not sure how I will make that happen so, in the meantime, I plan to just give them more water.

3. Why aren't my hydrangea bushes blooming?
I am fairly confident that I have several large hydrangea bushes - 3 in the back, 1 on the side and 1 in the front. Unfortunately, all of them are not showing any signs of blooming...So turns out this is a really common problem and is most likely caused by excessive pruning. In our haste to do some clean up this spring, I am fairly confident that we went to town cutting back the bushes. This is problematic because the most common variety of hydrangea only blossoms off old wood. It also could be that there is not enough phosphorous in the soil. This has a simple solution in that you can add a phosphorous-rich fertilizer to your soil. One organic garden forum I read recommended using Bone Meal - and yes it is what it sounds like.

4. What is a flowering bush that does well in full shade?
Also over Memorial Day, I also started transplanting a patch of lily of the valley. I put them in a bed right near the house that also has a large oak tree in it. I plan to fill the whole bed with lily of the valley but was thinking something with height right around the base of the tree could look really nice. Upon searching for flowering shade bushes, I discovered that HGTV website has a cool feature where you can save specific plant species to your profile. Right now, I am thinking a variety of Astilbe could give me the look I am after.