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Try these tips for gardening

Tips about gardening often come along that may be helpful but aren't enough to make a column out of. This column will include a few of them. For example, here is one about growing gladiolus - in fact, not about growing them, really, but about win...

Tips about gardening often come along that may be helpful but aren't enough to make a column out of. This column will include a few of them.

For example, here is one about growing gladiolus - in fact, not about growing them, really, but about winterizing them. You know how you have to dig them in the fall, keep them over and plant them again in the spring.

One man told me some years ago that he plants the bulbs on the east side of his home next to his roses; the roses are winterized with leaf cover, and the glads get the advantage of the leaf cover.

They emerge in the spring ready to grow, and they do, very beautifully.

Then there was the culture of bromeliads. You may not know much about bromeliads. They are related to the pineapple plant, and you may have seen them in the garden shops. If you haven't, ask about them. They are quite available.

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The bromeliad is quite easy to grow. Most kinds have big, bold, stiff foliage in colors of green, gray or red. I'm sure you have seen them now and then and just thought of them as a foliage plant, which of course, they are.

The plant requires a different kind of watering than usual. Most form a vase-shaped center, and you water by keeping the center filled. The soil medium should be coarse-textured, often just sand and sphagnum, as with orchids. Feed once a month with half-strength fertilizer and keep the soil just barely damp.

Bromeliads bloom, and the bloom is quite spectacular but not regularly, except for one called queen's tears, which doesn't have a vase, and blooms often with hanging blooms of shades of blue, green and cerise.

It is quite striking.

If you have a bromeliad that is mature but has never bloomed, place a very ripe apple with the plant and place both in a plastic bag. Leave them there for three days. Then remove them, and the plant may bloom after being induced to by the ethylene gas given off by the apple.

Then there is planting seed from wild fruits to get a tree or two in your yard. With small, fleshy kinds, you should first let them ferment after the seed is thoroughly ripe. Then wash off the seed.

Spread the seed out to dry; then spread a layer of moist sand in a box and place a layer of the seed on the sand. Cover with another layer of sand and continue this until the box is full. Don't let the seed dry out. You can do this with juneberries, buffaloberries, plums, highbush cranberries, hazelnuts, chokecherries, pincherries and sandcherries.

And last of the tips today, use your pumpkin for something besides pie or decoration. Roast the seeds in butter and salt them lightly. Also use the pumpkin for a vase, with oasis (floral foam) in the bottom, some mums or other flowers in it,and it will make an attractive arrangement.

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Readers can reach Forum gardening columnist Dorothy Collins

at dorothycollins@i29.net

Try these tips for gardening Dorothy Collins 20071124

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