Monday, March 20, 2017

Fish Gravel

One of the best ways to mark where you've planted seasonal bulbs is with fish tank gravel.  

Most every gardener, in the middle of summer, has sunk their shovel into a bare spot of soil only to discover it's where they planted tulips or other seasonal bulbs.

It's because of our NEED to fill every square inch of our flower beds with something new and beautiful.  If there's a square inch with nothing growing it calls our name and our shovels.

Seasonal bulbs do not like to be accidentally dug up.  Most likely they will come up chopped like a water chestnut heading for a stir fry.  All at a time when they should be storing up for next year's show.

Buy a bag of colored fish tank gravel.  Use a color that coordinates with your summer gardens.  Black, brown, white, clear or green aren't good choices.  

Buy cheap and average.  Thrift stores sometimes have them as do most big box stores that carry pet supplies.  

I've also used glass orbs meant for the florist industry when I've found in sacks at thrift stores.  Because they're smooth and round they tend to disappear faster than the gravel.

If you're into DIY, you could always use driveway gravel and spray paint it.  When doing DIY, remember whatever you use should be soil friendly and it will be there for a long time whether you see it or not.

After you've planted your bulbs and mulched the soil, ring the area with the gravel.  It needs to be pretty thick so it doesn't simply sink through the mulch or get moved about.   If all your bulbs are already in the ground, now is a good time to simply layer the gravel on the outside of the bulb growing patch. 

You may want to use two colors; one for spring flowering bulbs and another for fall flowering bulbs or tubers.

Example: Use blue gravel for spring bulbs:  tulips, daffodils and crocus.  Use orange for Naked Ladies, asiatic and oriental lilies.  All of these plants have periods during the growing season when they aren't visible. 

The cost is minimal, the task is easy, the look isn't intrusive and it works.  And it will help your bulbs survive another year.       

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