Saturday, December 27, 2008

On bulb planting

First of all, note that all spring-bulbs need to be planted now, so they can settle in and root before the onset of winter. But, to let the danger of the Tulip Fine disease pass, plant tulips in November.

When choosing your bulbs, make sure they are firm and have no holes, splits or other damage in the skin. Loose bulbs tend to be of better quality and have plenty of air circulating around them which will keep them clean and fresh.. The other advantage of loose bulbs is that you can pick them yourself and the bigger the better.

When planting your bulbs, note they like good drainage. So if your soil is clay or another sticky
mix, put some grit or sand into the planting hole first. Plant bulbs at twice or trice their size, thus a daffodil measuring 2” will have to be planted at a depth of 6”. For a natural effect scatter the bulbs by hand and plant them where they fall (nothing worse than regimental lines of daffs and crocuses, avoid at all cost).

If you are planting in borders, try to place the bulbs where their dying foliage will be hidden by plants that emerge in late spring.
Planting bulbs in lawns can give a lovely natural effect. To do this dig a U-shape with your spade/lawn edger and lift the sod at the bottom of the U. Plant regarding the size/depth of the bulb and replace the sod.
Choose early flowering species like Snowdrops, Crocus or an early Narcissus because you can’t mow the lawn there until the foliage dies back!
When planting bulbs in pots use any pot as long as they have good drainage and a depth of at least 8”-10”. First, empty and clean the pot, place stones over the drainage hole(s) and put a layer of compost in. Then place the larger bulbs, their pointy bits up and cover them with some more compost. A next layer of smaller bulbs comes in on top of that and cover again. On this the smallest bulbs, cover with compost, and then a layer of (possibly nice) grit. Water in well and wait…

Suggestion: bottom layer: Tulips; middle layer: Hyacinths; top layer: dwarf Narcissi.
Last but not least ensure that there is a succession of color from January to mid June. Have a look at the table below. Enjoy your bulbs!
Jeroen Wezelman
Flowering Times

Jan Snowdrops
Feb Crocus, Early Daffss
May Chinodoxa, Iris, Mid Daffs
Apr Bluebells, Hyacinths, Late Daffs
May Tulips, Hyacinths
Jun Allium / Freesia / Lilium

Planting plants and bulbs brings out the optimist in us all so heres hoping for a dry autumn and wonrerful spring.

We seem to go from one crisis to another these times and most of the time they are over the heads of us ordinary mortals. On this island we are still jawing over the Lisbon Treaty fiasco and the implications it may have for us, and now we have a world financial crisis, centred mostly in the USA but having a world wide effect for it appears we all had our snouts in the pork barrel; those of us at any rate who govern our finances. Daily on our radio and TV we listen and see men in pin striped suits arguing the toss, toeing an’ froing and talking in billions, while Joe and M/s Soap goes about the daily task of earning a living, and hoping the sky won’t fall on their heads.
Maths was not my best subject at school and down through the years things haven’t changed in that department, so I’ll refuse from throwing in my two bits worth as to how matters should be settled, but that doesn’t prevent me from passing comment and maybe offering a simple suggestion! Many years ago a hundred or more of us spent a mud clinging summer placer mining in the Yukon Territories preparing the ground for dredges to come in and dig for that elusive mineral – gold. We worked seven days of the week and the rest of the time was our own! Social activities were zilch; no radio, no TV, (no reception) so to pass what free time we had was spent spilling our life stories to anyone who would listen, or bitching about the company we worked for. It’s a favourite pastime with men who live in logging or mining camps in isolated conditions. A constant and vexed source of discussion was the ‘diggin’ for gold’. We, who were at the coalface so to speak, couldn’t see logic or reason for getting the stuff out of the ground, getting it to the smelter to be shaped into nice bricks, and then burying it again in Fort Knox, London, China, or where have you. In those days the world worked off the gold standard, so any country that stockpiled the stuff to any great degree was considered financially sound. These bricks haven’t rotted or melted away and they are still being stockpiled The years I refer to gold was worth 33 dollars an ounce, it’s now nudging 1000 dollars an ounce so what’s all the fussing and fapping about and asking the ordinary tax payer to shoulder the cost of the financial mess that the ‘experts’ have now got us into. There’s more than enough bricks buried in vaults around the world, it’s time they were put them to some use! There’d be no shortage of buyers; wealthy sheiks from the Middle East who would be raring to convert some of that dwindling commodity oil, into something more lasting, and up and coming nations such as China and India, and some from Africa not forgetting Australia, all nations wishing to be top dog in the years to come. Is there any better collateral? Is it time to return to the gold standard and not be relying on pieces of paper that can become worthless in the blink of an eye when manipulated by greedy speculation? Was all the sweatin’ an’ swearin’ that meself and hundreds others done, and still doing, all those years ago for nought?
Financial wizards would have a different opinion to mine but look where these ‘wizards’ have landed us. Up the proverbial creek without a paddle and calling for the lifeboats, and the governments at home and abroad in their efforts to rescue them are using the taxpayer as terra firma from which to throw them a lifeline. By the by I’ve been watching carefully to see if any of these head honchos either at home or abroad have been ordered to clean out their desks! These guys are top earners, a million or more in salaries, not to mention bonuses, which also run into millions. So far not a sign. The Swedish government had problems similar to our own back in 1991 but they didn’t mess about; for starters they fired the senior managers. If I sent a fellow to go milk the cow and he tried to milk the bull instead he’d be going down the road fast, if the bull didn’t get him first.
Things on the home front aren’t much better, in fact for our size we’re worse; 700 billion the American taxpayer is asked to shoulder, here 400 billion. This all comes about by careful management during the golden years of Bertie reign! Develop and build was the only show in town, nobody else got a mention. All the eggs in one basket; not a good idea. Here’s a snippet of information I gleaned from an article in today’s Irish Times 2nd Oct by Morgan Kelly professor of economics; “of every €100 that Irish residents have deposited in banks, €60 has been lent for property speculation” It may go down in history as the ‘brown envelope’ reign, when waffle and fudge held sway. Are we now into the ‘dig out’ reign? Did nobody ask questions or seek answers from our money managers, armature bookies, giving out long odds on speculative projects? And here’s a thought for the future; the man at the helm now, was Minister for Finance for some of those golden years. Fills one with confidence, doesn’t it?
With all this doom and gloom about one should try and see the funny side. Where else but in America would you see two giant mortgage houses called Freddie Mac and Fanny Mae. I don’t know about you reader but when I first read about them Disneyland characters sprang to mind. I didn’t connect them to money markets, but the way things are at the moment over there, the whole scene has a Disneyland aura about it. They have an election coming up soon so one could stretch one’s imagination further and think about the possibility of them having a Snow White complete with Dwarfs in the White House in the not too distant future. I’m thinking of that ‘rootin’ tootin’ moose shootin Momma’ from Alaska Sarah Palin, McCain’s running mate. A vision of Snow White doesn’t exactly spring to mind when thinking of M/s Sarah but a good imagination makes all things possible. Some of the Dwarfs are already in situ; Dopey, Sleepy, Grumpy et al.
Thought for the day: keep it in the mattress till these financial storm clouds blow over! Jeffers.

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