4000 bulbs

That’s my answer for anyone who might wonder why I haven’t posted in a few days. 4000 bulbs, give or take. Planted. Mostly. Still planting… Over the last couple of weeks, Gail and Tricia and I have tried hard to get all 3686 bulbs that we ordered along with the few hundred tulips we saved from last spring placed and in the ground before we let the volunteers take a much deserved winter break. We’re also trying to stay a step ahead of the weather – something wicked this way comes next week, according to forecasters… One of the hardest parts of rushing to get the bulbs in is having to make way for them by taking out plants that are still blooming. (We plant tulips in the same slots as our annuals.) In a perfect scenario, frost would have done the dirty work for us. But this year there are still bees and butterflies working the African blue basil, dahlias and zinnias. Every plant that came out broke our hearts a tiny bit so we left as much as we could, especially in the Rose Garden.

The physical act of planting is also not easy (except wherever the ground was loosened by taking annuals out). The volunteers did the lion’s share, down on all fours in the bulb hunchback – my least favorite yoga pose. And we have all cheered ourselves up as we stretched and arched our backs back into proper alignment that the promise of a spectacular spring is worth a  few hours of discomfort. I watched everyone get the same glazed look on their face as they cast ahead to the days when tulips like Blue Spectacle, Golden Artist, and Akebono bloom in concert. When unearthly earthy Fritillaria persica dangle deep purple-black bells on 2′ stems in the Rose Garden, and Allium Pinball Wizard lights up the North Garden. We planted more varieties of muscari and scilla, endless crocus, and are trying brodiaea, pushkinia, and a tiny oxalis that hasn’t been gone in yet because we can’t make up our minds where we’d love to see it more – the Rock Garden or the Rose?

Bulb planting takes a kind of blind faith and strong constitution that I believe must be unique to gardeners as a species. Bulbs are the ultimate in delayed gratification, dormant proof of gardeners’ collective optimism because they give absolutely no hint of what’s to come. We can only hope as they go in that they’ll spring out again in some more fabulous form. And our fingers have to stay crossed that this year that the squirrels and deer find plenty of other things to eat…

Have you started planting bulbs in your garden yet? Are you pinning your hopes for spring on anything new?

5 thoughts on “4000 bulbs

  1. I find myself on my elbows at times. Your work will be rewarded ten-fold, or should I say your volunteers work 😉

    Reed, It’s true – and we always try to get the volunteers back in time to enjoy the fruits of their hard labor! -kris

  2. I had the bus driver here at Trinity increase ours from 100 to 200. This will more than double the increase of the impact of the front entrance, I believe.

    Patrick, I bet it will be a stunning display! -kris

  3. I have started planting the bulbs but now I cannot find my dibble. I have checked the compost heap. Have you seen it? It is not easy planting bulbs especially with ledge around. Send those volunteers over. :)

    Layanee, I hope you found your dibble! Maybe you should try a drill instead… Hope all’s well after Sandy! -kris

  4. Problem needing solution: Tulip planting where squirrels are watching.

    Have you ever thought of, or heard of using that black plastic netting to repel the squirrels? I just found a package of it in the shed (while looking for hurricane supplies) and thought …hmmm. Could/would those critters chew thru the netting?

    it would be so much easier to cut netting and pin down than chicken wire.


    Ginny, Bunnies and maybe groundhogs have chewed through the plastic netting around the vegetable garden but maybe squirrels would have to be really desperate to bother. It’s worth a try! We’re crossing our fingers that there are enough acorns to go around this year and that they won’t go for the bulbs. -kris

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