Gardening – Is it a Bulb and What do I do With It?

Gardening – Is it a Bulb and What do I do With It?

Most gardeners know that daffodils, snowdrops, hyacinths and tulips grow from bulbs and that many other flowers grow from rhizomes, tubers or corms but what is the difference and can they all be treated in the same way?

There are many different definitions to be found, but I think these explain the variations in quite simple terms:

Bulb – a central bud surrounded by a fleshy layer. The bulb serves as a store for nutrients as well as a reproductive structure.

Rhizome – a reproductive stem which grows horizontally underground, topped by shoots and with roots below. The stem also acts as a food store. Some rhizomes are edible, such as ginger, galangal and turmeric but common flowers are irises and various types of lily.

Tuber – a plump fleshy stem which divides for reproduction and stores food. Dahlias of all sorts of varieties are popular flowers but the humble potato is also a tuber.

Corm – A corm, as with the other types above, stores nutrients for the plant and also reproduces. It appears similar to a bulb but is usually smaller and harder in texture. Popular garden varieties are gladioli and crocuses.

You will see that all the different types of the generic “bulb” act as a food storage area for the plant and this is not only during the growing season but continues when the leaves die off and the plant becomes dormant. This is why all these perennials can be left in the ground as they all have their own survival system. Thus, when the weather conditions become suitable for growth, the plants reappear without human intervention. However, in order to maintain this annual reappearance, bulbs should be planted in well drained soil with plenty of moisture and, in most cases, sunshine. Soil that is too wet and retains a lot of moisture will cause the bulb to rot.

My experience of bulbs in Southern England is that snowdrops appear first, followed by crocuses then daffodils (in a sheltered spot) even while the weather is still frosty. Tulips, hyacinths and bluebells need more warmth so won’t usually appear until spring is well under way and dahlias and gladioli will flower in the summer.

Planting time varies, depending on climate but most spring bulbs and rhizomes should be planted in late autumn or winter and summer flowering varieties in the spring.

Most bulbs enjoy full sunshine but if they are normally woodland plants, such as bluebells and snowdrops, then dappled shade will be more suitable, such as under deciduous trees. Planters, pots and window boxes are all suitable for growing bulbs too, as long as there is approximately three times their own height in depth of soil beneath the bulb. If you have problems with squirrels digging up and eating your bulbs, try planting them in a wire cage.

When the spring flowers are over, the leaves should be left to die off naturally as they provide the nutrients for the bulb to store for the following year, so don’t cut them off or mow grass in which they are planted. If you want to reuse your tubs for summer bedding, you can, if you wish, dig up the bulbs complete and lay they out to dry in a warm dry place. When the leaves are quite dried up, they can be pulled off and the bulbs stored in a paper bag for replanting in the autumn. Unless your climate is very dry, tubers such as dahlias should be dug up when their foliage wilts with the first frosts as they are very prone to mould growth. Lay them out in seed trays or wooden boxes to dry and store in a dark dry place. The tubers will shrivel up, but don’t worry, just before you want to replant them, remove them from the dark, sprinkle with a little compost and water very sparingly. You will notice that the tubers become plumb again and green shoots start appearing and this is when you can plant them out again as long as the danger of frost is past.

There are lots of varieties of all the above-mentioned plants to be found in garden centres but if you want some really exotic and exciting types, mail order companies have done fantastic work developing some real beauties!

Liz Canham Liz is a keen gardener who has exchanged the relative ease of gardening in Southern England for the trials of gardening on the Costa Blanca in Spain, where her garden is at a 45% angle on the side of a mountain. She is webmistress of Gardening for All.
Tips To Ensure Your Big Day Is Perfect
You are planning your big day. Tons of time and effort goes into this process and the end result had better be good. So how do you make that happen and still keep your sanity along the way? The answer is quite easy and that is to read along and we will provide some wedding planning tips that can really help anyone to make it to the big day.
Do not forget to learn about how you will handle tax reporting for your business. Reporting taxes for a business is much more complicated than filing taxes for yourself. You might need to hire a tax accountant to sort out what you have to do in the first year that you are filing as a business, just to make sure that it is done correctly.
If you are planning an outdoor wedding you will need to consider the possibility of bad weather. If you do not have a backup plan, this could ruin your wedding and inconvenience all of your guests who are attending. Always prepare for the worst on important occasions.
When the wedding has ended, you will most likely receive gifts from the people who have attended. Make sure that during this time, you and your spouse are together so that you can both show the appreciation that is deserved. Thank everyone regardless of what type of present they give you.
You should try to create a wedding that is extremely personal by having elements which encompass you, your fiance, and the relationship between you two. Think about your time together and find a theme which matches it.
An outdoor wedding has its own natural beauty but you should still check on the place where your wedding will be held right before your wedding. Check to make sure that the grass has been mowed, leaves have been raked, and it is clear of debris. If you notice something that you do not like, make sure it is taken care of before your wedding day.
For the woman who is about to get married, don't skimp on the dress. This is your day to shine, to look the most beautiful you have ever looked before, and to be decorated with unending compliments. So go buy that expensive dress you have always dreamed of wearing on your wedding day.
Skip having guests throw confetti at your wedding as it makes a mess and isn't good for the environment, nor will you like picking it out of your hair. Instead, give your guests a noisemaker with the date of your wedding and your names on it to take home as an inexpensive keepsake.
Make sure that you never plan your bachelor or bachelorette parties the day before the wedding. There may be a lot of drinking at these parties, and the last thing that you will want to do is ruin the day of your wedding because you are not fully functional. Have a calm day right before your wedding.
It is okay to let loose at your wedding reception. Many people take their wedding day too serious and do not remember it is supposed to be a joyous occasion. When this happens, they look back at their special day with unpleasant memories. Laugh with your guests, and dance to upbeat music.
Share your discounts on airline tickets with family and friends who will be attending your destination wedding. If you have Airmiles, see if you can help by purchasing tickets for your family with the reduction in cost thanks to those miles. Ask around with all attendees to see if they can pool their resources and get more discounts!
When picking out your wedding ring, make sure to get one you know you are going to like years down the line. Many people pick a random ring, and later decide that they do not like it. Also, if you are going to get matching bands, make sure both of you like them.
The time has come to plan your wedding. It is the biggest day of your life, and you're putting every drop of energy into the process. You just might lose your sanity along the way, right? Wrong! If you follow the tips we have provided, you can make it to your big day and keep your sanity intact. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!

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