Good day, the ol' madgardener here. Sitting here, looking outside the
southern nook, garden insanity and Acurite thermometer beckons me to come
outside and visit the gardens to see if the fairies are tucked in for the
winter. I know differently. I glanced down to the NSSG (not so secret
garden) yesterday when I was coming back inside yesterday and saw that the
Hellebore fairy was busy at work, preparing for the cold day in February
when I am thrilled at the buds that are hanging off the new leaves that are
sheltered under the older leaves of this last year's.
I also saw that the protection of the quickly deteriorating walkway that
leads you to the nook and den (the boards are rotting after decades and need
to be replaced very soon) has kept the Bear's Britches green, despite the
bitter temperatures lately and that brrrr windchill.
I have still not planted all those bulbs that are crying out to me in the
back fridge, and today, after I ran Squire around looking in desperation for
jobs for him in Knoxville concerning trucking, we got home at the fall of
dusk with the day totally shot. As I let the girlz inside, I looked at the
two octogonal nursery pots I'd scrounged from work and made a mental note
that I should go ahead and at least pot up SOME of the spring bulbs. The
main reason being that Sugar persists in dismaying me by digging up huge
gaping holes in various gardens around the whole area. The latest one was
the east side tomato/perennial bed that housed daylilies, perennial
Mertonensis foxgloves and Veronica's. I wept when I saw the three foot by
three foot hole all the way to the bottom of the box she'd dug and didn't
even try to survey the damage to whatever plant because it was impossible
and way too cold.
I came inside that day to scold towards Squire and knowing it was more about
the situation around the house with lack of job and money and mounting bills
and dwindling hours at my job, he went looking for Sugar who had slipped out
of her choker collar and booked off towards the east side of our woods when
I had tried to drag her to the box to show her what I knew she knew she'd
done. (don't flame me about her "knowing" about the cavern she'd dug. She
KNEW she'd done bad because she was acting guilty and had her tail tucked in
all morning just before I discovered her damage).
When he got her to get into his truck, he praised her for coming to him. he
re-collared her and leashed her and after he got her inside the house and
down the hall and thru the kitchen, he said she immediately started to put
on her brakes as he took her out the kitchen door and out the deck to the
side yard. He said she actually KNEW where he was taking her and resisted
him the whole way. Once he got her there, he did a Marine drill instructor
on her, rubbed her face and nose in the dirt from the box he saw I'd not
been able to fill the hole completely with, yelled some more at her and
asked her what did you do"?????? and then proceeded to tell her she'd been a
baaaad dawg and took her inside thru the downstairs doorway that leads past
the laundry into his computer cave. He kept her on the leash the rest of
the day where he said she stayed at his feet.
I don't know if this will work, but I will say that when I let them outside
for a quick potty the next couple of days, when Rose went down into the side
yard towards those boxes, Sugar immediately did a hard turn around and went
into a safe area and did what she had to do and immediately came back to the
door to be let inside. But despite that I think she might eventually get
that she can't dig into my beds, I am reluctant to plant the bulbs into the
loose soil because it would make me crazy to discover them dug up after all
the work. Pots of bulbs is safer and easier and after they bloom, I can
plant the plugs into the soil where I will have pockets of color for next
year. A good excuse to plant them in the upper woods.
So once I got everything put away, I went to the back fridge and started
pulling out bags of bulbs. Lordy, but there are alot of them. I picked out
the Woodstock hyacinths, Tarda tulips, Lilac Wonder tulips (these are
species and smaller), the dark pink allium oreophilum to bloom in late May
or early June, tri-colored crocus and 18 purple Iris recticulatas.
I sat outside in the dark and cold on a chimney screen and filled the large
pots with cheap humus halfway and then sprinkled a quarter cup of bulb food
into the soil and mixed it up. I then planted the Woodstock's two each in
the center and the recticulata's and Tarda's and Lilac Wonder's around
those. I then filled over these and plugged in the pink allium oreophilums,
tri-colored crocus and some unknown loose bulbs that were sprouting outside
in a saucer. My fingers were cold, but as I sat there, I got all kinds of
ideas with what I have left inside. I could tell that fairies were
whispering ideas for the treasures they knew I had sitting inside the
fridge. No self respecting fairy would approve of keeping perfectly good
flower bulbs from being planted and doing what they were meant to do- flower
I started counting in my head..........
There are three bags of golden crocus, four more bags of tri-colored crocus,
a mixed bag of crocus, two bags of Cream beauty crocus, two bags of blue
Triteleia Queen Fabiola Brodiaea, four bags of snowdrops (the smaller ones,
not galanthus),four bags of forbesii Chionodoxa at 35 in each bag, two or
three bags of 35 in each bag scilloides libanotica Puschkinia, and about 5-6
boxes of Ornithogalum's at 24 in each box.
I am considering just getting a couple of reduced window boxes at work and
fill them with humus and bulb food and planting everyone in those and
placing them out on the north facing deck off the back room so I can see
them up close. Once they bloom, I can do the same with them as I intend to
do with the other pots I just planted up. Plant the plug of bulbs somewhere
near my woods that is partially cleared and walkable.
Ever the optimist, I figure putting these bulbs into the woods will be a
lingering and perennial reminder long after I'm gone that a gardener and
fairies lived up here in this spot.
Things might not be going very well for the humans up here on the ridge, but
I must keep on with why I garden in the first place.
As I wander thru the early winter garden I am taken by it's own timed
beauty. I don't clean up the garden much because I like what remains.
Sometimes when it gets really ratty, I'll go ahead and clean it out in a fit
of the moment. My idea and way of cleaning up the gardens consists of
breaking off large stems of spent whatever's and tossing them out into the
driveway. Then I rip up offending tubers and knobby stems of 4's that
insist of flopping about and toss them into the driveway. The sunflowers
were past the bird point and I had to take the one that had come up in the
large pot I have those four lilac's starting out life in that busted the
side out with it's huge gnarly root. I still have three I think that need
removal. I'm sure the birds have planted my next years crop of sunflower
trees for themselves somewhere else.
The Hellebores are funny. Bright green like umbrellas peeking up from
underneath the older, darker green parasols of their parent leaves. Soon
Mom's Nature and her weather tantrums will shred them and by late winter,
the lime green babies will have thickened up and there will be new shoots
laden down with flowers to greet me and I can snip the older leaves out to
give air to the stalks with the blossoms.
Now I want to go outside and peer down between the dead stems and other
remains and hunt for next years signs. The thread leaf coreopsis has little
clumps of purplish fairy fingers just waiting to send out the slender green
threads that will support the random leaf and all those flowers. I just hope
the Bright Eyes survives. If not, the moonbeam will surely come back along
with the Limrock Ruby. I did like what I read in Fine Gardening with those.
I bought the reduced pots and when I plugged them into the quarter barrel, I
mixed pea gravel with the humus to make a good draining medium for them to
But one doesn't go out in the cold dark to hunt around for early signs of
next years perennials. That's what you do in the cold light of day. Since
I start my work week tomorrow and work the next four days, I will make an
attempt at healing my poor stressed out mind with looking for my babies that
the fairies have left me signs of everywhere before of after I get home.
The next few days here are supposed to be cold, crappy days, and unless I am
completely insane, I won't have a really good moment to do this until
Monday. When I do go outside, rest assured I will be inspired to share with
I just thought that I should share that I'd planted some pots of optimism
and Springtime tonight in the darkening winter evening and thought I'd say
hello. It's been awhile since I wrote to you. I am alright, just stressed
by the way. Life seems to be throwing me some familiar curve balls. I've
dealt with worse, it just changes when you're older with how it affects us.
My health for those of you who are concerned, is alright as far as I know
for now. The scare I had a while back was a reminded that I am almost 51 and
things are different for some of us when we get older and still deal with
tough times. Can't get rid of the stress, but realize that there is only so
much we can do in the situations we're in at the moment. Eventually things
will smooth out and it could always be much worse. I am grateful that for
now I still have my gardens and can go outside and enjoy it.
I will holler back when I wander around like some crazed madgardener. Until
then, thanks for allowing me to share.............
madgardener up on the chilly ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking a snow
dusted English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36 (as far
as I know) <g>