A few years ago, I wrote about heaving in the garden. When you live where I do, and have winters where the ground freezes for several months, it's unavoidable. It isn't the freezing itself that causes a plant or bulb to heave out of the ground, it's the repeated cycle of freezing and thawing and freezing again that does it.
As a result, we're experiencing excessive heaving and it's happening earlier than usual. This is important to note, because as roots become exposed and in some case, entire bulbs, they're at the mercy of Mother Nature's whims.
I walked through Max's Garden earlier this week and noticed unusual amounts of heaving, first in the plant tags as they lay scattered across the garden, out of their proper locations. I tried to put them back as best I could, but it will be spring before I really know where some of them belong. I usually make proper tags that go deep into the ground and stay in place during heaving, but I neglected to do it with several new plants.
|Heuchera 'Amber Waves' has heaved a couple of inches out of the ground.|
Then I noticed the heucheras, which are notoriously bad heavers. No surprise there, but it was happening in January, not March. And the Asiatic lily bulblets were peppered around the location of their mother plants. Again, pretty normal stuff, just earlier.
|Asiatic lily bulblets lay heaved out of the ground.|
But what really surprised me were the crocuses. Entire bulbs had sprouted and were sitting on top of the ground, despite them being planted at the proper depth and using several inches of mulch on my gardens to help modulate the ground temperatures. Even though these bulbs would freeze if they were in the ground too, exposure to the light and heat of the sun as well as the drying winter winds wouldn't bode well for them.
Trying to find a bag of mulch to buy in the middle of winter in a northern climate in a rural location is next to impossible. Not much demand for it, I suppose. Most of the independent garden centers are closed for the season here and the big box stores haven't started stocking it yet.
So I took some mulch and leaves from parts of the garden where it isn't needed for its function and after gently pressing the bulbs back into the ground, I mulched them some more. For the heucheras, I didn't try to push them down into the ground too much; I simply piled more mulch around them.