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Montgomery column: Designing a garden

Betty Montgomery
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“I never before knew the full value of trees. My house is entirely embosomed in high plane-trees, with good grass below; and under them I breakfast, dine, write, read, and receive my company”

– Thomas Jefferson, 1793

Due to staying home with the pandemic the past six months, I have done some major work in the garden. I had not realized how some plants needed a good pruning and a few plants had even outgrown their space and needed to be moved. I had shrubs with a lot of dead wood that needed to be taken out and I could not believe I did not notice this before. I got out old photos of areas in the garden and was amazed at how the garden had slowly changed.

As I have been working, I would have to remind myself to follow some basic principles of design that have helped me over the years. I started out as a collector and realized years ago, I needed order to my garden and to have some “bones” or structure in some places where things were lacking.

Some of the things I try to remember are not to make it too much of a “hodge-podge” of plant material. Variety is important, but do not overdo it. Balance, proportion and unity are important. You need to think about a garden as an extension of your home and think about how you decorate a room. You use some of these same ideas when making a room in the garden.

You need different shapes, sizes, texture and form. If the entire yard were all the same, it would not be very interesting. It is good to balance things in the garden. If you have something on one side of a path,

In the Garden column: Color your spring with fall bulbs – Lifestyle – Austin American-Statesman

If you have, over the years, looked at gardens where there is a profusion of color with spring-flowering bulbs and wished for the same showstopping display in your garden, then now is the time to think about planting spring-flowering bulbs.

I had been remiss some years and did not plant certain bulbs or as many as I should have, and then came spring, and I had regrets. So, this fall, make time for spring color in your garden and plant fall bulbs in the perennial bed and beneath trees and shrubs. If space is a problem, fall bulbs can be planted in pots, containers and window boxes, and even be forced to bloom indoors.

Not all bulbs are the same. That is, some fall bulbs work as perennials, others are considered annuals. Daffodils and scilla are reliable as perennials. Tulips and hyacinths have become annuals for me. The National Garden Bureau suggests treating them as annuals, and to check bloom times so you can enjoy a long season of flowers. Since tulips and hyacinths often bloom as annuals, the National Garden Bureau suggests experimenting with new color combinations every year.

Some of their tips for planting spring-flowering bulbs:
• The best times for planting are mid-October through mid-November. Early December is the latest for planting. Plant bulbs about three weeks before the soil begins to freeze.
• Well-drained soil and about six to eight hours of sun are the ideal locations for bulbs.
• Your selection of bulbs should include bulbs with different bloom times. Early-, mid- and late-season-blooming bulbs will guarantee a colorful spring show of flowering bulbs.
Carole McCray resides in Cape May, New Jersey

In the Garden column: Color your spring with fall bulbs – Lifestyle – providencejournal.com

If you have, over the years, looked at gardens where there is a profusion of color with spring-flowering bulbs and wished for the same showstopping display in your garden, then now is the time to think about planting spring-flowering bulbs.

I had been remiss some years and did not plant certain bulbs or as many as I should have, and then came spring, and I had regrets. So, this fall, make time for spring color in your garden and plant fall bulbs in the perennial bed and beneath trees and shrubs. If space is a problem, fall bulbs can be planted in pots, containers and window boxes, and even be forced to bloom indoors.

Not all bulbs are the same. That is, some fall bulbs work as perennials, others are considered annuals. Daffodils and scilla are reliable as perennials. Tulips and hyacinths have become annuals for me. The National Garden Bureau suggests treating them as annuals, and to check bloom times so you can enjoy a long season of flowers. Since tulips and hyacinths often bloom as annuals, the National Garden Bureau suggests experimenting with new color combinations every year.

Some of their tips for planting spring-flowering bulbs:
• The best times for planting are mid-October through mid-November. Early December is the latest for planting. Plant bulbs about three weeks before the soil begins to freeze.
• Well-drained soil and about six to eight hours of sun are the ideal locations for bulbs.
• Your selection of bulbs should include bulbs with different bloom times. Early-, mid- and late-season-blooming bulbs will guarantee a colorful spring show of flowering bulbs.
Carole McCray resides in Cape May, New Jersey