the show

Herbs for What Ails You

encore date: December 12, 2014

original air date: November 1, 2014

Meet perennial plants with benefits to fix what ails you with Gayle Engels from the American Botanical Council.  On tour, Vicki Blachman swept away lawn for fragrance, flowers, food and wildlife habitat, including a Monarch Waystation. Daphne’s Plant of the Week is garlic chives, an easy care perennial to flavor your recipes and entice bees to its fall flowers. Plus, she explains how to divide fall-blooming bulbs, like oxblood lilies. Trisha shows how to start amaryllis bulbs indoors and plant again outdoors after blooming.


Episode Segments

On Tour

Vicki Blachman

When avid gardener and herbal expert Vicki Blachman married into the suburbs, she set her sights on slowly whittling away lifeless lawn for fragrant, food-filled gardens for her family and the wildlife. Along the way, she and husband Steven built a pond to refresh hot summer days, established solitary bee houses, and became a Certified Backyard Habitat and Monarch Waystation.


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Question of the Week

When can I divide fall-blooming bulbs like oxblood lily?

Fall blooming bulbs like oxblood lilies and Lycoris (spider lilies) are such a treat. But what if we need to move them?

The time for any major maintenance of flowering bulbs is AFTER they’ve flowered and gone dormant.  So a good rule of thumb is to watch for the foliage to yellow and die back before you dig and divide them.

Since oxblood lilies are hardy to zone 6 and we’re in much warmer zone 8 here in Central Texas, these plants may stay green all winter long.  If so, be patient, perhaps even waiting until early spring to interrupt them.

Dividing will refresh these show-stopping beauties, reinvigorating their capacity to flower.  But you might notice that the first season after transplanting you get fewer or no flowers at all.  That’s because after division, the bulbs will need a little time to concentrate on vegetative growth, settling in, making new roots, and producing lots of green growth, before they expend precious energy on making flowers.

Most fall-flowering bulbs only need to be divided about every five years or so, so don’t be in any hurry for this task.  If the clustered colonies of bulbs become too crowded, flowering may be inhibited, so if you can’t remember when you planted your oxblood lilies, watch for that sign instead and divide them once you’ve noticed a decline in their floral display.

When dividing, you’ll want to use a large garden spade, but be careful not to puncture the bulbs.  This might seem tricky, but shouldn’t be too hard if you back away from the foliage by about six inches or so, turning up the soil and pulling the bulbs to the surface without damaging them.  Separate the bulbs into smaller clumps, or even individual bulbs, and then transplant or give away the rest.

If you must dig up earlier due to a move or landscape work, it’s okay.


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Plant of the Week

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Garlic chives really do deserve an exalted place in our gardens. These perennials will stick around with you for years, where you can snip the flat leaves to flavor your recipes. Or, just let them accent flowering perennials with their foliage. In fall, garlic chive flowers bring on the bees, butterflies, and tiny pollinators! You can eat the flowers, too, or dry for cut flower arrangements. As with most bulbs, well-drained soil is best, but garlic chives can take clay soils. Adding compost or other well-decomposed organic matter is also good. Plant in part shade to sun, though not blasting sun all day. They are happy with just morning or afternoon sun for a few hours. They tolerate drought and freeze just fine. Divide in fall or spring to spread around or share with friends. Deer resistant.