Monday, January 23, 2012

Not Too Warm Any More

      Winter was gracious enough to leave Chicago alone for the most part in December. Now it is payback time. Whenever we can break away from slippery streets and snow shovels, though, it is worth a pause to enjoy a whole new perspective on our gardens. This is the winter view from the back door of our old house. Even a tiny urban lot can seem magical if laid out with care.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Too Warm/

     This photo shows some wonderful spring bulbs popping up -- in DECEMBER! In Chicago and throughout much of the country late fall and early winter temperatures have been exceptionally high. Since bulbs get their cues from changes in temperature, they have been fooled into thinking it is spring and sending up shoots 3-4 months early. A number of clients have called asking what they should do. The simple answer is "Nothing." the bulbs are wasting a bit of their energy by sending these shoots up too soon, but they will stop when colder weather arrives and we should still get flowers next spring.

     What might be helpful is a further layer of mulch once the weather gets substantially colder. Whatever you do, do not add mulch now. That will only delay the cooling of the soil and make things worse. the purpose of putting down mulch later is to keep the soil cold longer.It will keep the bulbs asleep longer through some of those false springs we get in February and prevent them wasting more energy before bloom time.

Too Warm?