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    Save the Date: Perennial Plant Society’s 30th Plant Sale is April 4, 2020, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the new Expo 3 Building at The Fairgrounds Nashville. Here’s where you can find the newest varieties of perennials, shrubs, vines and annuals from local growers, along with long-time, never-fail favorites, ready for spring planting. Learn more at the PPS website.

     

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Keep your daffodils happy

After a long winter, the daffodils are finally beginning to bloom! Do they need any special care to make them bloom better?

Daffodils from AnnaDaffodils are generally easy-care spring bulbs, but a little extra care each year can increase and improve blooms over time. The American Daffodil Society offers these tips:

As daffodils bloom, topdress the soil with 0-10-10 or 0-0-50 fertilizer. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilizer, which may produce more foliage than flowers.

Daffodils need water while they’re growing, so if there is a dry spell, provide regular water until after blooming has stopped.

After daffodils bloom, leave the foliage until it turns yellow. This is the time the bulbs are gathering strength to bloom again next year.

The weather in late winter and early spring can be capricious, and it’s always possible that a hard frost or freeze can cause the stems to collapse, leaving the flowers drooping to the ground. If that happens, go ahead and cut some of the flowers and enjoy them in a vase indoors.

Vote for Cheekwood!

Nashville’s Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art is one of the finalists for BestPublicGarden in USA Today Travel’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards list. Those who love and enjoy the beautiful gardens are encouraged to vote daily for Cheekwood in an online poll to help win the award.

Our beloved Middle-Tennessee favorite is in good company. The list, compiled by expert, author and lecturer Cindy Brockway, also includes ButchartGardens of Victoria, British Columbia; ChicagoBotanic Garden in Chicago, Illinois; HuntingtonBotanical   Garden in Los Angeles, California; LongwoodGardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania and United   StatesBotanical Garden in Washington, D.C., among others.

“Thanks to recent high-profile exhibitions, expanded programming, and recognition like the 10Best list, Cheekwood is seen more and more as a national treasure, right in our back yard,” says Cheekwood President and CEO Jane O. MacLeod. “We invite our community to help build our national reputation by voting for Cheekwood in the 10Best online poll.”

To vote for Cheekwood, visit 10best.com/awards/travel/best-public-garden between now and March 31. Vote early and often – yes, you can vote every day. As of this writing, Cheekwood ranked a very close third among the 20 finalists for total votes.

Amaryllis start-up time

When should I start new amaryllis bulbs in pots to have them on display through the winter?

'Flamenco Queen' amaryllis is from Colorblends.

‘Flamenco Queen’ amaryllis is from Colorblends.

Start potting them up now! The big, luxuriant amaryllis flowers generally begin to bloom six to eight weeks after the bulb is placed in potting mix and watered. Start several bulbs at weekly intervals, and you can have those tropical blooms on display from the December holidays on through winter.

An amaryllis is a large bulb, so select a pot that is a little larger and has a drainage hole. Add good quality potting mix to the container along with the bulb (pointed end up, of course), leaving about a quarter to a third of the bulb exposed. Water it well and place it in a spot that’s warm and sunny. You probably won’t need to water again until the soil feels dry, or when you begin to see growth from the top of the bulb.

Amaryllis comes in a range of colors, from white to soft pink to blazing red, bi-colors, giants and miniatures, some with double flowers — sure to brighten up any winter day. The  amaryllis pictured here is ‘Flamenco Queen’ from Colorblends, a Connecticut-based flower bulb wholesaler that sells direct to home gardeners.