Ciscoe Morris, Seattle Times garden writer, suggests keeping a year-to-year photographic album of your blooming garden so you know where your bulbs are planted and you won't accidentally dig them up. Plus, he gives tips on keeping trees watered and shopping at the Bellevue Botanical Garden's Annual "Art in the Garden."
Bulbs such as lilies, dahlias and many rare beauties make the summer garden spectacular. They go dormant every winter, but before they emerge in late spring, thousands of us suffer from “Hidden Bulb Anxiety.”
This is the gardener’s fear of digging in the early spring soil because he or she can’t remember where the gazillions of dormant bulbs are planted. There’s nothing worse than pulling your digging spade out of the ground to discover half your prized Podophyllum ‘Red Panda’ bulb skewered on the end of the shovel.
Drawing a map to keep track of them is a major undertaking, especially in a complicated garden. Marking them with plant tags can look unsightly; plus the tags disappear. I couldn’t figure why my fancy metal tags were vanishing until I spotted a crow flying away with one to add some classy wall art in his nest!
Save yourself anxiety next spring by taking a series of pictures of your garden now while it is in full splendor. Next spring, refer to your pictures to pinpoint the location of your dormant beauties. Do it every year at this time, and it won’t only keep you from destroying your hidden gems, you’ll end up with an evolutionary history of your garden as well.
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Don’t forget to water your trees
Lawns can generally be allowed to go dormant during the dry summer months without suffering lasting harm, but most trees can’t. Little rain falls in the summer months here, and even big, well-established trees need water if they’re growing in dry conditions.
If your tree is already starting to turn fall color, or worse yet, starting to show signs of dieback, it’s telling you that it needs water right away.
Wrap a soaker hose in concentric circles starting around the trunk, working out to the drip line. Run the water for 3 or 4 hours. The following day, dig a hole under the tree to see how deeply the water has soaked in. It should soak down at least 8 inches, so if it’s only moist 4 inches deep, double the amount of time you run the hose. Do this once every couple of weeks until the rains begin in September.
By the way, a 25 foot soaker hose is usually adequate for this project. Anyone who can lay out a 50-foot soaker hose without getting kinks in it should be making his or her living wrestling snakes.
Shop for art in a spectacular setting
Art is a critical element in the garden. A work of art can add beauty, elegance, mystery, even whimsy and fun. The place to shop for original garden art is at the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Annual “Art in the Garden” 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
You’ll discover sculptures and garden art by 30 of the best Artists in the Pacific Northwest nestled in all sorts of nooks and crannies throughout the garden. All of the art is for sale and includes works in metal, wood, blown and fused glass and bronze.
At last year’s event I came home with an exotic cat-head planter that looks like it came right out of King Tut’s tomb! Many of the artists will be on hand to discuss their work. A percentage of the proceeds will go to help support the Bellevue Botanical Garden. For information, including when I’ll be leading a tour of the garden, visit www.bellevuebotanical.org and find it half way down the “events” page.
Ciscoe Morris: firstname.lastname@example.org; “Gardening with Ciscoe” airs at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KING-TV.