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  • Upcoming Garden Events in Middle Tennessee

    March 1 – 4: Nashville Lawn & Garden Show, Fairgrounds Nashville: The annual all-indoors garden event that features live garden displays, lectures, vendors, floral designs and special programming Wine Festival featuring Tennessee wines is Saturday (March 3), noon – 5 p.m. For more information on the events and the complete lecture schedule, visit www.nashvillelawnandgardenshow.com.

    April 7: Perennial Plant Sale hosted by the Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee annual Perennial Plant Sale at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Find newly released and hard-to-find perennials along with a wide range of tried and tested varieties, all from top local nurseries. The sale opens at 9 a.m. and usually sells out by early afternoon. For more information, visit www.ppsmtn.org.

    April 14: Herb & Plant Sale hosted by The Herb Society of 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., at The Fairgrounds Nashville Sports Arena building. The sale offers common and rare varieties of herbs and heirloom vegetables and handmade pottery and herb markers by artist Roy Overcast for sale. For more information and a list of available plants, visit www.herbsocietynashville.org.

    April 21: Herb & Craft Fair hosted by First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd., 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Top quality perennial and annual herbs, heirloom tomato plants, native and companion plants, along with food and craft items reflecting an interest in the homemade and homegrown: fresh homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, barbecue sauces, jams and jellies; knitted and sewn items, homes for birds and bees, and art, jewelry and more made from pressed flowers. Visit www.thefuun.org.

    May 12: Hosta sale hosted by the Middle Tennessee Hosta. Proceeds from the sale support the club’s activities. More information about the MTHS is at www.mths-hosta.com.

    May 19: Urban Gardening Festival, hosted by Master Gardeners of Davidson County, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Master Gardeners’ Demonstration Garden at Ellington Agricultural Center (5201 Marchant Drive in Nashville). The free event includes information about a variety of gardening methods and techniques, local artisans, exhibiters, growers and more. For information, visit www.mgofdc.org/ugf.

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When daffodils don’t bloom

I covered my daffodils in the fall with a heavy layer of pine straw. The leaves have come up but they are not budding or blooming. Is the pine straw too acidic for these plants?

Daffodil copyAfter a long winter, we look forward to the daffodils blooming in spring, and it’s a disappointment when they don’t produce the flowers we expect.

The failure to bloom is not due to pine straw causing acid soil; daffodils – or jonquils, as we sometimes call them — tolerate a range of soil types, as long as it is well-drained and moderately fertile, and some varieties actually prefer slightly acid soil. A lot of garden experts suggest mulching daffodil beds with a light layer of pine straw. Small, early blooming daffodils may not be able to penetrate a thick layer of mulch.

So consider some of the other possible reasons daffodils don’t bloom:

Were they cut down too quickly last spring? After daffodils finish blooming, allow the foliage to remain until it turns yellow. This allows the bulb to gather and store energy for growing and blooming the following spring.

Were they given a high-nitrogen fertilizer? Nitrogen tends to grow a lot of foliage at the expense of flowers. Fertilizer that contains a higher level of phosphorous promotes blooming.

Is the bed too crowded? Bulbs continue to grow and divide underground, and after several years, the bulbs may grow big, lush clumps with few or no blooms. If it’s an old, established bed, it may need to be thinned. Dig the bulbs, separate and replant them.

Too little sun? Daffodils need six to eight hours of sunlight to bloom well. They tolerate dappled shade in early spring, but if they are in dense shade, they likely will not bloom.

These are among the most common causes. The American Daffodil Society has a whole page of reasons that daffodils fail to bloom, which you can read here.

For gardeners in Middle Tennessee (where The Garden Bench calls home), this is a good time to mention that the Middle Tennessee Daffodil Society is holding its annual Daffodil Show March 19 and 20 at Cheekwood Botanical Garden. This is the time to see some of the most perfect daffodils grown and arranged by serious daffodil aficionados. To learn more, visit the MTDS site here.

Spring into action: With warm weather rolling in, it’ time to check the garden to-do list. Read about March garden tips, tasks and events in The Tennessean.

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