Western Mountains and High Plains

March, 2007
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Hyacinths
One of my favorite flowers of spring is the fragrant hyacinth. Dutch bulb growers have cultivated this classic bulb since the 17th century. They are available in many brilliant colors, and their fragrance is unmistakable when they open in spring. For a bold and dramatic effect in your garden, plant several bulbs in the early fall. Create a flower bed with masses of this flower, certain to add visual excitement outside the kitchen or living room window. I like to plant an entire bed with a single hyacinth variety, or plant multiple colors to create a rainbow effect.

For a more informal look, mix hyacinths of various colors with tulips, daffodils, pansies, primroses, and other spring-blooming flowers. Be sure to plant a few groups along a walkway, where you can enjoy their fragrance each time you pass.

Hyacinths are also one of the easiest bulbs to grow in pots. Mark your calendar to buy and plant in September and October.

Clever Gardening Technique

Coaxing Fruit Tree to Bear More Fruit
Do you have a fruit tree that's not bearing up to par? You can coax it into being more productive by tricking it into "thinking" it's under attack and needs to produce more seeds to carry on after it dies. This may sound a little crazy, but it works. Unproductive fruit trees need a bit of discipline; stimulate the hormones by whacking the side of the trunk six to seven times with a sturdy baseball bat. (Caution: Don't hit so hard that you physically injure or tear open the bark.) This old method will not hurt the tree, and it can stimulate the reproductive hormones to increase fruiting.

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