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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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Daffodils may be too crowded to bloom

Our bed of daffodils has been growing for many years and has a lot of thick foliage, but just a few blooms. They should probably be divided. Can I dig them up and replant them now? 

Daff crowded Daffodil bulbs divide themselves every year or two, and the clumps begin to compete for food and space. This will affect their blooming – they’ll begin to produce fewer and fewer flowers.
So, indeed, after bulbs have been growing in the same place for many years, they may need to be dug up and divided. When the foliage turns yellow later this spring (but before it disappears completely), dig the bulbs, separate them, and replant them about 6 inches apart, 6 inches deep.
This is prime-time for daffodils in Middle Tennessee, and a little extra care and attention this time of year can improve your daffodil planting over time.


April in the garden: This could be the start of an especially satisfying – or challenging – spring. Check out the April Garden Calendar in The Tennessean and at Tennessean.com.


A wise gardener once said…
In fact, there have been many wise gardeners, and they’ve said plenty of wise things.
“To sit in the shade on a fine day, and look upon verdure, is the most perfect refreshment.” (Jane Austen, in her novel Mansfield Park)
gardenwisdomAuthor Barbara Burn has collected many such bits of truth in The Little Green Book of Gardening Wisdom, just out this spring from Skyhorse Publishing. If you keep a garden, it’s a book that’s likely to have you nodding in agreement as you flip through the chapters.
“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. – Ruth Stout, “How to Have a Green Thumb Without An Aching Back” (1955).
Burns says in the introduction that she was surprised to discover that so many people have said so many things about gardening that deserve to be collected. “I concluded that the subject of growing things was of far more universal interest that I had anticipated, and a great deal more uplifting than all the volumes devoted to war and political history,” she writes.
“To create a garden is to search for a better world. In our effort to improve on nature, we are guided by a vision of paradise. Whether the result is a horticultural masterpiece or only a modest vegetable patch, it is based on the expectation of a glorious future. This hope for the future is at the heart of all gardening.” – Marina Schinz, in Visions of Paradise (1985).
There is also practical advice, in quotes from well-known gardeners past and present.
“I feel that one of the secrets of good gardening in always to remove, ruthlessly, any plant one doesn’t like… Scrap what does not satisfy and replace it by something that will.” – Vita Sackville-West’s Garden Book (1968).
“To get the best results you must talk to your vegetables.” – Prince Charles, in a television interview in 1986.
This book of wise words is not intended to use as a how-to-garden manual. “But it will, I hope, give every reader a sense of comfort to know that we are not alone when we are down on our hands and knees fighting with weeds or planting a row of seeds that will one day bring us great pleasure.”
The Little Green Book of Gardening Wisdom is available at Skyhorse Publishing in hardcover ($16.95) and as an ebook.

Plant your Easter lily

QUESTION: Can I plant my potted Easter lilies outside? When? What is a good location?
Easter lilyYes, you can plant Lilium longiforum (the botanical name for the Easter lily) outdoors for it to bloom again next year – and the next and the next. You shouldn’t put it in the ground until after the chance of frost has passed, but care of the bulb should begin while you still have it in the house.
Indoors, keep the plant in bright, indirect light and away from cold drafts and heat sources. Water it when the soil feels dry, but don’t overwater. The blooms will last longer if you remove the yellow anthers – the pollen pods – in the center of each flower. Remove the blooms as they wither.
When it’s time to plant, cut off any old flowers that remain but leave the stem and leaves. Select a sunny location with good drainage, plant the bulb (stem and leaves attached) at the same depth it grew in the pot and water it well. The stem and leaves will die back in the fall, and at that time you can cut it at soil level and cover with mulch. It should come back next year, so remove the mulch when it begins to grow next spring.
Remember, too, that the lilies available at Easter were forced into bloom at that time; the lily’s normal bloom time is not until summer, so don’t expect your lily in the garden to bloom before then.
By the way, some experts recommend not planting Lilium longiforum in the same bed with other lilies, as Easter lilies may be susceptible to a variety of diseases that may be transmitted to other varieties.
This lily, with it’s large trumpet-shaped flowers, is also known as Bermuda lily. The cultivar most commonly grown for markets in the U.S. is ‘Nellie White,’ named for a lily grower’s wife.