Ecology + Design

Seasonal Landscape Design – Turning Winter into Spring – Westchester County

Although we may have just experienced the longest sub-freezing period anyone can remember here in Fairfield, Putnam and Westchester Counties, there is hope for a brighter tomorrow! This is a reminder of why we dig in the fall to plant bulbs with hope and faith that we will both survive and flourish in the new year. The squirrels dig to bury nuts for later, even though they can’t always remember where. We dig to harvest joy and celebrate new life. When we plant bulbs, we try to complete at least one area. It’s very difficult to go back and fill in next fall when they are not visible. One of the neat ways we use to get around that is by planting bulbs in containers, covered with mulch, placed on pallets or gravel (for drainage). Although they may not all survive, its’ well worth the effort to have them around in spring to fill in.

As with everything else that we do in designing planting plans, we are thinking of diversity and wildlife. We love to see the positive interaction between all God’s creatures, plants, animals, etc. It’s a wonder to behold. We need to remember what can attract and provide food for deer. I have found that you can even grow tulips and crocus in Westchester County (very succulent to deer) by simply treating them with an organic, natural source repellent. The key to the effectiveness of these producst are two important practices:

First, mix the concentrate at a higher than recommended rate by one third. You will not harm anything if it’s a naturally based organic formulation. The reason for this is that most repellants are intended for moderate deer browse. I don’t know about you but that’s not what we have around here!

Second, remember is to be critically aware of timing. If you spray the foliage as it emerges, then again about a week later, again when the flowers are about to open and finally when the flowers are fully open and in bloom, you will have the best results.
The beauty of color energizes the soul after the drabness of winter passes. There are so many interesting varieties of bulbs, including many natives. They are also a good investment if properly done ( like anything else). You should use an organic bulb foodwhen planting. You may consider dipping the bulbs in a repellant and allowing to dry overnight to reduce rodent damage. We like to plant bulbs in late October through early December. Plant them too early and the animals may dig them up!

Spring flowering bulbs add a rich dimension to any landscape and inspire a cheerful optimism when our landscapes need it most! Have Fun and enjoy life!

Jay Archer, President (and Bulb Enthusiast)


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