Posted on October 6th, 2014 at 11:13 AM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

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Rosie Lerner, extension consumer horticulture specialist at Purdue University, shares tips for bulb planting.

Plant spring bulbs in the fall before the ground freezes—ideally, when soil temps are between 40 and 50 degrees. “This gives them a chance to get roots established before going into winter,” Rosie says.

Find a sunny spot. Generally, bulbs do best in full sun and well-drained soil.

Plant bulbs in groups for a loose, natural-looking display. “I like to plant lots of a particular variety for a massing effect,” Rosie says. Place five or six bulbs in each hole, making sure the hole’s depth is two to three times the bulb’s height. The pointy end should face up.

Protect bulbs from critters with a layer of gravel or mulch or a sheet of wire mesh over holes. You can remove the wire mesh when bulbs begin sprouting.

Plant with other perennials, such as hydrangeas, peonies or daylilies, that will help hide the bulbs’ foliage after blooms fade.  “For them to make a good comeback, they need their foliage to live as long as possible,” Rosie says. Don’t cut back foliage until it’s yellowed.







October 11

Forcing Hyacinths
Posted on October 11th, 2012 at 2:11 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

Enjoy blooming hyacinths inside this winter by forcing the bulbs, ideally by mid October. Hyacinths can be forced by either planting the bulb in a pot of soil or using water in a hyacinth bulb glass. Selecting  bulbs marked “suitable for forcing” increases success. For forcing in soil, use ordinary potting soil and plant the bulbs close together but not touching. The pointy end of the bulbs should be planted about half an inch deep. Water the bulbs thoroughly and place the pot in a cold (35-48 degree) dark place for at least 12 weeks. Keep the pot watered and in the dark until shoots reach 1 inch tall. Then move the pot to a location with light (north facing window is ideal) and cool temperatures around 55 degrees.
The process of forcing a bulb in water takes about a month.

September 13

Irises-Part II
Posted on September 13th, 2011 at 6:36 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

Dividing and Transplanting Irises-Part II


If possible, till the soil a week or so before planting. Avoid adding barnyard manure because this can rot the rhizomes. If your soil is heavy clay, you may stir gypsum into the soil. Avoid adding peat moss because it is acidic. Irises prefer alkaline soil.

To improve any poorly drained area, you may want to build raised beds.


It is best to do the digging, dividing and transplanting all in one day. This increases survival rate of your plants. Do one clump at a time.

Carefully lift each clump of iris out of the ground with a spading fork. If possible, lift the mass whole. You may need to break the clump apart to get it all out of the ground. Clean as much dirt off each iris as possible before dividing.  Dusting off dirt will make it easier to divide the clump. It is very important to inspect the rhizomes for soft spots and iris borers. (Iris borers are plump pinkish caterpillars that can kill your plant). Cut off any soft, insect -infested or unhealthy looking parts.  Discard any old, infested, mushy or bad smelling growths.

With pruning shears or a sharp knife, trim any broken or torn roots. With a sharp knife divide the remaining rhizomes into pieces. Trim the leaves to about 6-9  inches to reduce the need for moisture before replanting.  Each piece for replanting should have some healthy looking roots and at least one fan of leaves.


Select a location that is  sunny and well drained. Dig a hole for each clump.  You may add compost and stir into the soil. If desired, you may add bone meal to the soil but take care to mix the bone meal well into the soil. The iris roots can be burned if they touch the bone meal.

Position the rhizome so that it will settle into the ground just below ground level. Be careful not to plant the rhizomes too deeply or the plant will produce foliage but never bloom.

For a striking display, plant the iris rhizomes in groups of 4-6.  Space the rhizomes 12-16 inches apart.

Water thoroughly.


Planting and Dividing Bearded Irises by Don Janssen, Extension Educator, Lancaster County, University of Nebraska

Gardening Experiences: Dividing Bearded Irises by David Ross, 1999

prepared by Joan Cullen

August 4

Posted on August 4th, 2011 at 3:01 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club


If you are lucky enough to  enjoy the beauty of irises in your garden in spring, you will want to take time now to assess whether your plants need to be divided. August and September are the times to divide your irises if they need it. You will want to divide your plants when the soil is still warm but the air has begun to cool. It is important to replant at this peak time when the disturbed roots have time to re-establish themselves without placing a severe demand on them to supply a lot of moisture to the leaves.  Wait until day time temperatures drop from the 90’s!

Irises do not need to be divided every year -usually every 3-4 years is the norm.

What are the signs that my irises need to be divided?

1. Irises that do not bloom as profusely as they once did. Overcrowded  rhizomes will produce fewer flowers.

2. Overcrowded rhizomes may also start to heave from the ground.  The plants may start to push on each other resulting in a mass that looks like a pile of snakes or spaghetti.


September 30

October Gardening Tip
Posted on September 30th, 2010 at 3:25 PM by Newark Ohio Garden Club

October is the time to plant bulbs for spring beauty and color.  Daffodils are a favorite of many Central Ohio gardeners because they are so versatile and hearty.  Daffodils naturalize year to year. Deer will not eat the daffodil plants or flowers and,  squirrels, chipmunks and rabbits will generally not dig, move, or chew daffodil bulbs.

Selecting bulbs

When selecting daffodil or other bulbs, pick only dry hard bulbs. Always try to pick the largest bulbs- the larger the bulb, the larger the flower.

Selecting a planting site

1. Good drainage is critical -a slight slope helps drainage

2. Plant where bulbs will have some sun. Ideally, select a site with at least half a day of sun.   Planting under a tree should work because daffodils bloom before foliage appears.

Preparing the soil

Lewis Turner in his publication Let’s Grow Daffodils, says, “Many people make the mistake of planting a $50 plant in a 25 cent hole.”  Good preparation improves drainage.  Lift soil the depth of a shovel  to break up large lumps of soil -especially if clay based.  OSU Extension recommends amending heavy clay soil by adding amounts of 1/3 to –  1/2 sand, compost, peat or aged bark.

Planting bulbs

Plant about 4 times the height of the bulb–6-8 inches for daffodils.

Plant daffodils in groups of 3 ,5 or 7.

Water bulbs after planting.


Lewis P. Turner’s,  Let’s Grow Daffodils A handbook on Daffodil Culture-1994,  Turner’s Patch, P.O. Box 697, Walkersville , MD 21793

Ohio sheet 1000/1237,html

For more information

www. our>hardy bulbs in Ohio fact sheet  HYG -1237-98