The Q&A Archives: Brand New Gardner On The Block : )

Question: Good Day! We've purchased our home over a year ago and I'm ready to start in the garden. I have plenty of yard space and a sectioned off space for a garden. I'm interested in a wild flower garden. I need to know what I can plant now for a beautiful summer garden that will come back every year. I also haye a section along the house that I would like to plant Tulips (my favorite flower), I need info on when to plant those. And why don't they last long? I'll also be doing some spreading of mulch and marble, can I have basics on this process. I know I've typed a mouthful, but I'm really excited about this new hobby of mine!!! PLEASE HELP!!!

Answer: Tulips naturally bloom for a short time each spring, it can be shorter or longer depending on the weather -- shorter if it turns extra warm. Then they need to grow their foliage until it turns brown and dries up. This process rebuilds the bulb so it can bloom again next year. I should mention that daffodils tend to perennialize better than most types of tulips, if you are looking for perennials.

Some summer blooming native perennials consider might include purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and black eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida). For a beginner perennial garden you might also like daylilies (Hemerocallis) and sedums.

When you prepare the soil, be sure to loosen it down about ten inches or more and add some organic matter such as compost. Select a spot that is in full sun all day and where the soil is well drained, meaning not a low spot where runoff collects.

Using an organic mulch is usually best because it breaks down slowly over time and helps feed the soil. Marble chips do not have this benefit.

Enjoy your new landscaping!

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