Soil preparation is important because your plants will occupy the same site for many years to come. It is worthwhile to spend a little effort to provide them a good home. Dig the soil to the depth of a spading fork (twice as deep is better). Remove any sod so the grass will not return to the planting site. Apply plenty of organic matter (manure, compost or sphagnum peat moss) and mix thoroughly with the soil. Mulching in summer will help keep the soil moist and cool and prevent weeds while winter mulch will help prevent heaving of plants during periods of alternate freezing and thawing.
Fall bulbs will reward you with the first long awaited color in the spring. Combine a variety of bulbs to create continuous bloom from the Crocus in April to the Allium in June.
Flower bulbs thrive in well-drained soil. They may be planted by digging a shallow hole using a hand trowel or shovel. To create a more naturalized effect, remove soil from planting area and scatter the bulbs and then cover with soil. The general rule for the planting depth is to plant bulbs twice as deep as their height. Smaller bulbs should be planted fairly close together (3-4" apart) while the larger bulbs should have approximately 5" between them. After planting, water the area well.
You can plant bulbs among shrubs or perennials to guarantee an even wider range of color in the area.
The main requirement for bulb flowers is to leave the foliage die back naturally. This process will take about 6 weeks and the fading foliage may be camouflaged with annuals and/or perennials. Bulbs need this period to regenerate and gather their strength for next yearŐs flowering period.
Perennials will give you summer-long beauty with color splashing your gardens at different times of the season. Perennial plants will come back year after year and most require very little care at all. Use them to compliment the colorful annuals in your flowering beds and garden.
They are best used in borders, in beds along with shrubs or planted along a fence. Perennial island beds or perennials as accents in foundation plantings have become popular in recent years. Perennial gardens may also be created to provide cut flowers for your home.
The #1 reason perennial plants fail to perform as expected is due to improper planting depth. Although symptoms may not be apparent the first season or two after transplanting and may not cause the immediate demise of some plants, planting too deep can be the reason for failure. Most perennial plants should be planted so the topmost roots are barely covered at the surface and even with the surrounding soil. A very light (1/2-1") organic mulch such as cypress bark, cedar bark or finely screened pine bark may be used for moisture retention and appearance, but is not essential for normal plant growth. Some exceptions which usually are not planted deep enough are most bulbs, corms and tubers (not rhizomes) which will produce more root mass if planted deep.
Your newly set plants will require regular watering for the first couple of weeks after planting. Also, if the weather is extremely hot or sunny at the time of planting, shading them for a few days will reduce wilting and get them off to a good start.
Perennials grow at varying rates, depending on their nature and upon the conditions under which they are growing. To keep them healthy, they should be divided when they show signs of becoming crowded. This is best done in the spring or fall; dig up the clump, cut the crown of each plant into several sections with a sharp knife, with each piece retaining its own root system. Replant the divisions as soon as possible.
"Deadheading" or removing spent flower heads and stalks will frequently prolong the blooming period and encourage a fresh burst of colorful blooms.
Stake taller perennials to prevent damage by wind and continue to tie them up as they grow taller.
FRUITS and SHRUBS
Choosing a proper planting site is the first step for successful planting of fruits and shrubs. Most require full sun to partial shade and plenty of room for mature growth. Some common planting errors are choosing a site that is too close to a house foundation, so the mature plants rub on the house siding, or spacing the plants too close together, so the mature plants grow into each other. If you desire a hedge, then planting so the plants grow together is best.
In all cases dig a hole large enough to encompass the roots without bending or circling. Set the plant in place so the crown (part of the plant where the highest root meets the stem) is about 1 inch below the soil surface. Add generous amounts of peat, but no fertilizer when planting. Cover with soil to the original soil surface and water thoroughly. Your newly set plants will require regular watering for the first couple of weeks after planting. Continue to monitor the plants and water as necessary throughout the growing season.