The Garden Corner

The Garden Corner by Sharon Allen Spring Bulbs

Spring bulbs and woodland wild flowers are really beginning to put on a lovely display. Each fall I plant hundreds of tulips and daffodils, but the blooms always look so sparse in the spring.

Part of the problem is that I spread the bulbs out throughout the yard, if I would mass them in one area then I would have a better result. Unfortunately they have to fit in between perennials, so their space is limited. I really should dig out some of the old tulip bulbs.

After blooming, most tulips split into a number of smaller "daughter" bulbs which do not have the energy to produce flowers the following year.

The best tulips for perennializing are Darwin (Apeldoorn is a Darwin that has very sturdy weatherproof stems and comes in an array of colors), Fosteriana (produces some of the largest blossoms and are sometimes called "Emperor" tulips), Greigii (characterized by foliage streaked with deep maroon and purple stripes, short in stature and perfect for the front of the border or rock gardens), and last but not least the species tulips (too many to mention � generally they are petite in stature, hardy, and fragrant).

Tulips generally do well in our climate, because they need six weeks of nighttime temperatures of 45 degrees or less (no problem in South Dakota).

Among the reasons that tulips may fail after the first season include lack of adequate sun, destruction of foliage before it has fully ripened, poorly drained soil, and too shallow a planting depth.

Master Gardener Hotline

Beginning Monday, May 5, the Master Gardeners will answer call-in questions at the Clay County Extension office from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. each Monday through September. So if you have any questions regarding your flowers, trees, lawns, insects, etc., please call 677-7111 and ask for a Master Gardener.

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

On Saturday, June 7 at 11 a.m. I will be opening my garden (weather permitting) at 110 North Plum for a free tour and demonstration on developing a backyard wildlife habitat. Participants will be given information packets on how to become a member of the National Wildlife Federation, how to attract butterflies to your yard, and will receive packets of wildflower seeds for attracting butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators.

Sharon Allen is an horticulturist and Master Gardener. For comments, suggestions, and questions write to her in care of the Clay County Extension Office, 515 High Street, Vermillion, SD 57069, or contact her directly through the Internet at

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