Fall Flowering BulbsWritten by Linda Jenkinson
Deciduous trees dazzle us with brilliance of golds, oranges and reds they display before dropping their leaves in autumn. However, you don’t have to be satisfied with autumn leaf color alone. Consider planting fall flower bulbs.
Spring-flowering bulbs are universal symbols of spring. Many of us wait to see cheerful little crocus as it pops through last of winter snows. The delicate narcissus, colorful tulip, and sunny daffodil are all spring flowering bulbs that bring out smiles after long, colorless winters. Just as spring-flowering bulbs bring a welcome burst of color as they usher in season, fall flower bulbs offer you a last blast of vibrancy to keep in memory through a long, colorless winter.
There are two main differences between spring flower bulbs and fall flower bulbs. Spring flower bulbs are planted in fall and need a cold period of winter dormancy to flower. Fall flower bulbs are typically planted in spring or summer. Most fall flower bulbs aren’t winter hardy and need to be lifted in autumn and stored until time for next spring planting.
When selecting fall flower bulbs, always choose those that are firm and blemish-free. A good rule of thumb to remember is “the larger bulb, larger bloom.” The bulb is actually a tiny womb for a flower. In fact, if you split a bulb in half, you frequently can see bud and in some cases, even see flower. Everything flower needs to grow, except water, is contained inside a bulb. Although differences between them are slight, many of these flower storehouses that we commonly call bulbs are actually rhizomes, corms and tubers. Look for these labels in addition to “bulbs” when purchasing fall-flower bulbs.
Choosing the Right Garden FurnitureWritten by Johann Erickson
Chinese oak is a very dense, and fine-grained hardwood, with a heart that is a lighter shade of brown, lending those sections a pinkish tone that is reminiscent of Western Red Cedar. Tannic acid is a natural substance in Chinese Oak, which acts as a deterrent to fungus and insects, in same manner as resinous oil does for teak, and tannin in cedar, as well. It looks very much like a quality teak wood, and is considered to be slightly harder than Red Oak. Oak is a traditional choice for outdoor furniture, and is generally considered a good value.
Cedar is a material that many people prefer for both its rustic and “down home” appeal. A softwood, cedar has same tannic oils as Chinese oak, which prevents attack by mildew when wood is consistently wet, deep down. A very durable wood, it’s estimated to have 80% of strength of oak, but is a much lighter material, important when it comes to moving chairs or seats for mowing lawn. Natural Red Cedar is extremely popular, so much so, that it is often reproduced out of other materials, so check and make sure your furniture is real red cedar, and not a look alike. Northern White Cedar is also popular, and provides a lighter, brighter look to your patio sets and swings or loungers. If you acquire plain wood garden furniture and want to finish it, try a single coat of a semi-transparent stain that has sun-screening properties. Otherwise, it can be left to age to a natural silver-gray.