YOU RECALL my warning that clematis planted out in March, when you can buy them at local stores in little cardboard boxes, often fail to get started.
They are so fragile then that if the growing shoot is frozen back, or dried by cold spring winds, etc., etc., the plant may very well perish. Even so, if you were to keep it watered, the plant might very well sprout again next spring, even though it had been sitting there a full year without any signs of life.
But the safer, and not really difficult way to manage the March-bought clematis (as you were firmly reminded at the time) is simply to plant it in a 6-inch pot and keep it growing along all summer, then plant in out in its permanent position in late September or early October.
I should add, maybe that I have never been able to establish C. orientalis , the yellow clematis with small flowers like thimbles only with the segments thick, so that it is commonly called the orange-peel clematis. I have had several plants, and treated them various ways but never had one to survive.
On the other hand, some of the other wild clematis (which you would think are much tougher than the large-flowered garden hybrids) can be quite miffy here if just planted out in the open garden as soon as you receive them from the grower.
I have lost Cc. spooneri rosea, chrysocoma , and a few others, including C. montana rubens and some of its forms like 'Elizabeth' and 'Tetra Rose.' But now that I have seen how well they do in pots for a few months before being planted out in early fall, I do not expect to lose them anymore.
At the moment I have what I hope is a good deep pink form of C. montana in a pot ready to be planted permanently, and the blush-pink spooners rosea seems to have settled in nicely after some months in a pot.
It would be better for gardeners if clematis were shipped in September, but it works better for the growers to ship them in early spring, so that's when we get them.
Incidentally, if clematis are shipped to you in December, looking dead, you need not hesitate to plant them in their permanent places then, or else pot them up for planting out the following fall.
I had rather plant them outdoors in December than in March or April.
Now is the time to plant daffodils. Tulips are best planted in November, so they are not tempted by the warm moist earth to sprout above ground until late winter. Because tulips go in fairly late -- Thanksgiving is not too late -- gardeners often plant their daffodils then, too. But I am sure daffodils do best when planted before September is out.
I have planted daffodils as late as mid-february and had them bloom well that same spring, and had them bloom well thereafter.
There is nothing critical about their planting date. But over the years, trying them one way and another, I now prefer to plant all daffodils in September. The best ones -- just a slight shade better -- were planted the first week in September.
While all these fall-planted bulbs that bloom the next spring are able to put up with great abuse, they will do better over the years if their planting stations are well dug -- as if you were going to plant corn.
My impression is that daffodils do not really like deep planting from Washington south. I have tried them at various depths, and for me they do beautifully if the tips of the bulb are covered with two inches of earth (the base of the bulb resting four or six inches beneath the surface.)
On occasion I have planted them 10-inches deep, hoping thereby to keep them from multiplying so fast. In that way, I thought, they could remain undisturbed for many years. I did not care for the results.
This year I noticed 'Falstaff' had greatly increased:
Its numerous offsets were found barely an inch below ground. The same was true of 'Fairy Jewels' but 'Newcastle' was found at the same depth it was originally planted the base 6 inches below the surface) and it has not increased to speak of.
Different daffodils, in other words, vary. Some increase quickly, others very gradually.
None of this should be taken to suggest there is anything tricky about daffodils. You could just open the earth up with a spade, drop in a bulb, and firm the earth back with your foot, and all would be fine.
But since many gardeners want to get the very best from their bulbs -- especially since they now sell at ourrageous prices, thanks to the decline of the dollar -- a little extra care is worth the slight bother.
Do not, by the way, dig into old clumps of daffodils now, with the idea of dividing and replanting them. They have already started new roots. Wait until June to divide them.