Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bulb A'Sore - or - Probably The Last Gardening Post of the Year

Well, first off, here's some art. Click for big:
10.17.09 - Aliens in the Backyard
A week ago, I worked in the garden for the first time in months. I will not put off working in the garden for months if I can at all help it ever again. I had to dig up a lot of weeds and encroaching grass (it is almost hilarious how I have grass growing happily where I do not want it and no grass at all where I do want it.) As of the time I am writing this, I'm still hurting in some sensitive areas.
(Oh, calm down. I meant my joints. And my thumbnails. And my most of me.)

I don't know if I've had a chance to mention this before, and even so, I'm hoping some of you are new readers who met me at Boston Comicon and are doing an archive binge of this blog (I am extremely and very nerdily honored if this is the case). I am a native New Englander. That means I am genetically predisposed to complain about the weather. However, to be honest, I like seasonality. I like the fact that the growing season is ephemeral up here; it makes it all the more lovely. And I enjoy colorful leaves in autumn and -brace yourselves- I like snow.
With all that said, I'm wondering if spring bulbs are a distinctly temperate zone phenomenon. I had a fair number of daffodils early this spring, but I figured this would be a good year to replenish the garden. Bulbs are fairly easy to deal with and are a great choice for a family project - IF your kids are patient.
Like, having to wait up to twenty-four weeks for "delivery" patient.
You see, that's the downside of planting bulbs. Actually getting them in the ground takes a bit of effort and good timing (wait until after Daylight Savings Time ends and you may have completely wasted your money). I've got at least 120 out there now, and I am betting that at least half of them make it through the winter.
If this makes you cringe, you'll be happy to know that bulbs are easy to "cheat". Wait until the week after Easter (April 4, 2010) and you can snap up full-grown tulips and hyacinths for half off. This is much more expensive than planting bulbs en mass in autumn - but it's also easier on the nerves.

This is how most books of gardening will encourage you to plant bulbs.
And normally, I don't do this. I've done it with the onions only because they're easy to see and I only have a few of them. For tulips, daffodils, and the Anemones I'm experimenting with for the first time, I just dug a pit several inches deep, tossed the bulbs in, set them right-side up, and covered them with dirt and mulch. It's just as random as the "scattering" method shown above and much easier to keep track of.

And this is the "after" picture. The yellow and burgundy mums are there just for color as my perennials have all gone to seed. Occasionally, these mums will turn out to be perennials themselves, and will show green leaves early in spring.
As a funny addendum to the previous post, there is now no evidence *at all* of the storm on Sunday. As a matter of fact, it was pretty warm in the sun on Monday.
So now, the only major thing to do out there is get the bird feeder set up...

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