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Hostas are ready to be divided and moved

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog hosta shoots 414When shoots start to appear, hostas are ready to be moved. Photo by Doug Oster

The hostas are ready to be split and moved, but is the garden ready to accept them?

The best time to divide these plants is when they push up their tight shoots before they unfurl. For smaller plants I'll lift the whole thing and cut it in half or quarters depending on the size. For larger ones I'll just cut what I want from the sides. This job can be done anytime during the spring, but it looks better to do it before the plants get too far along.

If the soil is too wet though, gardeners must wait. I've dug some transplanting holes and found parts of my garden to be dry enough to work. If the dirt sticks to the shovel don't dig.

You don't want to destroy the soil structure. Turning over soil that's too wet will complicate gardening in that area the rest of the season. It creates clumps which will dry into bricks.

Like comedy, timing is everything when it comes to planting. I love expanding the garden by moving extra pieces of hostas to other areas. When you wait for the right day, you'll be sure to succeed.

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My favorite daffodils

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog daffodils favs frontThese tough daffodils have returned year after year. Photo by Doug Oster

They aren't the prettiest daffodils in the garden, but they are the most dependable and one of the earliest and that's why they are my favorite (one of my favorites actually).

They were inherited when I moved in 15 years ago and are planted in the perfect spot, along a little strip of dirt between the front sidewalk and the house.

Most plants would hate it there, but these daffodils get sun and water in spring and not much of either in summer. Most spring bulbs need to dry out during their dormant period and that's why they love this spot.

It's a good lesson when looking ahead to fall for bulb planting season. This is the time we can see where these bulbs are happiest and plant them in similar places.

Since this patch is so close to the house, it's one of the earliest to bloom. What's amazing is the bud very early, but never freeze out regardless of the weather.

Daffodil season if definitely my favorite as it signals the end of any chance of winter returning. I can't wait for the late bloomers and doubles to unfurl their flowers.

 

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Lenten Rose is beautiful, long-lived and blooming now

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog hllebore sunny frontI love purple hellebores, but I've got many colors in the garden. Photos by Doug Oster

The combination of long winter and late spring has compressed the season. Many of the early bloomers which usually blossom within weeks of each other, are now all flowering together.

One of these treasures is Helleborus orientalis or the Lenten Rose.

The plant comes in many colors and also is offered in an almost endless array of hybrids. It's an easy to grow shade lover which will tolerate some sun and isn't fussy about watering, although it does prefer moist to dry.

The three inch blossoms often look down, so I pick them an float them in water around the garden or in a small dish inside the house. It's the best way for me to enjoy the intricate blossoms.

It's wonderful to have flowers this size and color so early in the season, and they last for months, slowly fading away. The shiny, attractive foliage looks great all season.

The plants resents division and transplanting so find a spot which works and stick with it.

Helleborus niger is also called the Christmas Rose and blooms in November when just about everything else has finished. These two plants make amazing bookends to the season.

blog backlit helleboreThe late afternoon sun illuminates this hellebore flower.

blog helbore 40914Even though the flowers often look down, they are still beautiful.

blog helebore frontWhen they look up, the flowers reveal even more beauty.

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This crocus conjures childhood memories

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog yellow crocus 040814I wouldn't want to garden without these flowers. Photo by Doug Oster

Each spring when the 'Yellow Mammoth' crocus bloom I think of my mother.

She didn't love gardening like I do, but put up with my fascination, letting me have a small vegetable garden in the back yard.

It was the yellow crocus flowers she planted in the late 60's which would great me at the front door after school. When I saw those flowers, I knew winter was officially over.

When they bloom in my garden today, I call my mother to talk about the blossoms. We laugh at my nostalgic take on life, something she has seen in me forever.

Those flowers were the last thing I saw at the house I grew up in. After cleaning it out, I looked behind me, and there they were. Blooming strong as ever.

I wrote about the experience for the Post-Gazette here.

There are endless reasons to choose certain plants for your garden. Every fall I put in more of these bulbs, even though the chipmunks love them as much as I do.

The luminescent orange blossoms remind me of growing up in a simpler, happier time. I can't help but smile when I see the tender blooms and think of my mother.

 

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Beautiful Glory of Snow, spring bulb to put on your planting list

Written by Doug Oster on .

blog pink giantGlory of Snow 'Pink Giant' is a welcome sight in the spring. It's easy to grow from a fall planted bulb. Photos by Doug Oster

Everyone knows about crocus and daffodils, but Glory of Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) is blooming right now and it's a beauty.

Pictured is 'Pink Giant,' interesting name since it's only about six inches tall. Many cultivars are blue or purple and they are indestructible.

The bulbs are planted in the fall and will form a wonderful colony in only a few years.

They are deer resistant, in fact I've never seen the deer touch them.

Even though the gardening season is only just beginning, think ahead to fall planting and put Glory of Snow on your planting list.

blog pink giant tightI love Glory of Snow!

 

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