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.
Simple Tips To Help You Get The Weight Off
 
It does not matter how much weight you need to lose. The fundamentals remain the same - you need to use up more calories than you consume. Between diet and exercise, regular weight loss can be easily achieved and here are some helpful ideas to get you started in the right direction. That is the scales moving downwards.
 
Don't take too much time in between meals. Instead, eat more frequently, but don't eat more than 3/4 full per meal. Doing this can help you to avoid overeating, and control your portions. Also, eating more frequently can lead to healthier eating habits. For example, chewing thoroughly instead of swallowing it down, will help you to actually enjoy your meals.
 
Steaming foods that you would ordinarily bake or fry is a great way to decrease the fat content in your food. Steaming food will cook it without adding butter or any other unhealthy supplement. Choose fresh foods with lots of flavor,that way steaming or grilling can be a great way to cook your meals without adding fat.
 
A great way to lose weight is to prepare your meals the night before. When you prepare your meals the night before, you won't have to rush to get to work or wherever you're going and you'll always guarantee yourself to have something healthy to eat when you're hungry.
 
A helpful tip to lose weight is to learn how to cook your own meals. If you don't know how to cook, you're more likely to resort to eating fast food and you're not likely to get proper nutrition. Learning to cook basic meals for yourself is very important.
 
It's a well known fact that drinking water can help you shed pounds. Have you also heard that drinking chilled water causes your metabolic rate to increase? When you drink a glass of ice water, your body is forced to raise your body's temperature, which also raises your metabolism.
 
Having a workout partner can help remaining committed on your weight-loss plan easier. A person who shares similar weight loss goals with exercise and diet can be a very strong motivational tool. Together, you will find it easier to stick with the program during times when you might otherwise give up.
 
A good way to help you lose weight is to avoid getting coffee and related drinks at cafes. Most of us aren't aware of it, but these drinks tend to be loaded with sugar and fat. Try brewing your own coffee instead. You'll have control over what goes into it.
 
When trying to achieve weight loss, it is important that you do not focus too much on the number on the scale. Instead, you should attempt to achieve a healthy body. It can sound contradictory, but just focusing on the health to start with can keep your thoughts positive. By over-focusing on weight loss, it is easy to become discouraged with the number on the scale, which will cause you to slide right back to your old habits. It's very common for the average person to fall off diets because they tried to lose weight in ways that are far too restrictive. Making gradual changes will help you lose weight.
 
Try to cook at home as much as possible. Food from a restaurant often contains a lot of fat and salt. Also, restaurant portions are huge, which might tempt you to eat more than you really need. When you cook your own food, you can control exactly what goes into your meal, and you can control your portions.
 
If setting a goal for yourself doesn't seem to be working, why not try joining a program like Weight Watchers? Not only do they have organized plans to keep you on track to losing weight, but you get the support of the other members to give you encouragement to keep going.
 
Slow and steady weight loss is better and more sustainable than fad diets and a rapid decrease in numbers. A long-term change in attitude towards food and exercise is what is required for the pounds to come off and stay off. But remember that it can be done, and you will reach your goals with a little perseverance.
 
 

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