Bulbs produce some of the most beautiful flowers in the garden palate (think iris, tulips and daffodils). Bulbs provide brilliant splashes of cheerful color in the winter and spring months. To top it off, you can even plant them in large containers on the patio. Plant some calendula or pansies in the pots to cover the soil with color until the bulbs come up. They will know when it is time to emerge. Here are tips for bulb success. (Technically some of these are corms or rhizomes, but they grow the same as bulbs.)Get the right stuff. In our area, bulbs with hot climate ancestors will do better than their European cousins. Thus, desert tulips such as Turkish or Israeli tulips will do better than cool climate Dutch tulips. Resist the sale bulbs at the supermarket and do buy your bulbs from a nursery or bulb supplier.Find the right spot. If you are going to leave your bulbs in the ground, use this handy guide to find the right spot to plant them. (I developed this after killing numerous bulbs over the decades.) Some plants are listed on both lists, this means they will stand about a half day of sun. Full shade to filtered light is needed for the following (especially avoid baking afternoon sun): agapanthus, caladium, calla, canna, crinum, crocus, cyclamen, dahlia, day lily, Easter lily, freesia, gladiolus, lycoris, ornithogalum, oxalis, sparaxis, spring starflower (Ipheion), tigridia, and tuberous begonia. Full sun to part shade is needed for the following: (natives are marked by an * asterisk): *Ajo lily, allium, amaryllis, anemone, apios, *blue dicks, canna, crocus, gladiolus, iris (all kinds), *mariposa lily, narcissus, oxalis, * Pima lily, ranunculus, society garlic, squill, Turkish tulip, watsonia, zephranthes.
This is a popular time of year around these parts because it’s finally cool enough for us all to step outside for a bit and enjoy the ever-so-slightly crisper air. And while there are definitely increased events and festivals happening around town, the turn of the season also marks a great time to explore a bit further. With that in mind, I thought I’d share three day trip destinations that are perfect for fall.Apple Annie’s Produce and Pumpkins, located at 6405 W. Williams Road in Wilcox, is a fabulous family destination. My kids love the fact that they can not only choose their own pumpkin straight from the patch, but unlike grocery store pumpkin bins, the gourds at Apple Annie’s have to be cut straight from the vine. It doesn’t get much fresher than that, folks. In addition to the pumpkin patch, you’ll want to be sure to meander through the corn maze and then try some sweet corn as a reward for making it to the end. There are also fresh veggies available for purchase along with artisan honeys, dressings, sauces and spreads. Don’t forget to take your camera for some awesome photo ops.Sonoita/Elgin – Just about an hour to the south and east of Tucson there is a true Arizona treasure for those of us with an affinity for wine. Visitors to the area can stop by one of several local wineries for tastings and the opportunity to meet the winemakers. The cost of tastings ranges from about $5 to $12 with discounts given when you bring a glass from a neighboring winery. My husband and I have visited the Sonoita wine trail many times. Some of our favorite wineries to visit are: Dos Cabezas, Lightning Ridge Cellars, Kief-Joshua Vineyards, Callaghan Vineyards and Arizona Hops and Vines. Visit Arizonawine.org for a full listing of vineyards and a helpful map.Chiricahua National Monument – Located roughly two hours from Tucson, Chiricahua National Monument is a virtual playground for nature enthusiasts. Less adventurous types might opt to drive the eight-mile scenic loop and then settle in for a picnic, whereas energetic families can hike to their hearts’ content. What makes Chiricahua interesting is its balanced rock formations and pinnacles. Desert-dwelling kids will be awed by the trees and wild animals while mom and dad might just appreciate the quiet or the opportunity to get the kids out and about to expel some energy. Either way, the fall is a great time to visit. Be sure to bring a light sweater or jacket.If you’ve got fall fever and are itching to get out and explore, you might try one of these options. All three are family favorites for us.