General Garden FAQS


Here is the place to find some answers on those frequently asked questions. When something doesn’t bloom, or squirrels attack your plants, try some of these answers…



Q:Why don’t my daffodils bloom?

Usually the answer to this is one of two causes: The place is too shady or The daffodil bulbs are too crowded.

The way to fix the low light problem is to move your bulbs to a sunnier spot in the yard. You might try to plant hardy cyclamens in the shady spot.

The good news about the need to lift and divide those crowded stands of daffodils is that you get lots of new bulbs to multiply the spring effect of cheerful trumpets of sunshine yellow, soft white, and cream.

More info on daffodils, here

5 Steps to Dazzling Daffodils

Q: What happened to my tulip plantings? Where are they?

If they disappear altogether it is likely that someone in the rodent family ate them. Rodents love tasty tulips. If they simply have become weak and don’t bloom, that is called “running out”, this is the way of most tulips for most of us.

Tulips grow fat and strong under certain conditions that the Holland growers have expertly specialized in, we plant them in our gardens and they give us a couple years of glorious bloom. Usually you have to replace your plantings with new bulbs purchased every few years. You can lift the bulbs and replant the stronger ones each season (lift in summer, store, replant in fall).

Alternatively there are some varieties of tulips that tend to be more perennial. To learn all the facts about these favorite Dutch Bulbs: read more about tulips, here.


Q: Why don’t my peonies bloom?
Again, this is probably a low light situation, since peonies love and need sunshine. However, there is something else they are picky about: planting too deeply. Check to make sure the plants buds (eyes) are no more than two inches below the level of soil.(preferably 1/2 inch deep in loose soil- plant may settle lower)

Learn more about planting peonies, here.

Q: When should I divide my (German) Bearded Iris?
In the Midwest, you should wait until the plants are dormant. That would be during the months of July and August. Lift the rhizomes, divide, and replant. If you clean the soil off, cut the leaves to 6 inches, remove damaged portions of the roots, you will have healthy blooming plants.

Much more about Iris, here

When Should I?


Should I add compost to the autumn garden?

Fall is an excellent time to add compost to your garden, since it gives the soil time to “mellow”. If you have half-made compost that could be added for the same reason.

More Autumn gardening tips

Autumn is a project


Q: When is the best time to plant or transplant a magnolia tree?
Spring is the very best time to plant or transplant a magnolia because these trees put most of their growth in during the early part of the season and slow up in fall and wintertime. see my plant profile of one of the magnolias: Magnolia stellata.

When do you prune sand cherry bushes?

Right after they bloom, which is early spring. So when they finish blooming for that year (about late spring) you should get your pruners out and shape up your bush. Read more about Sand Cherry Bushes

How To?

How to draw goldfinches to my garden?

Give them what they love to eat. They will often visit to enjoy cosmos flower seeds, and cosmos are lovely additions to any garden. They also love thistle seed, but I wouldn’t put them in the garden voluntarily!

For more about bird friendly gardens, read this

More about feeding birds.

Thistles in The Garden

How to stop squirrels from munching on and tearing up my garden plants?
Try to distract them by putting out a ground-level birdbath, some people say that they were seeking water (in the leaves and roots). If this is the case then providing an easy source of water for them may discourage their depredation on your plants. Worth a try!

Five things to improve clay soil.