I had come into a mother lode of discarded bulbs behind a Lowes last week,
and had put them in my cat bag for later sorting. When I checked the same
location I'd found the first discarded bags of bulbs, I discovered some
more,narcissus, Pink Pride, White Lion and three bags of those HUGE Dutch
iris bulbs in 15 count bags that had sold full price for $8.95, some bags of
Lord Lieutenant anemone, a bag of Viking tulip, which is a red double, and
two bags of miniature narcissus mixed. Why these were in the trash behind
the store, I never asked. I figured the Spring bulb fairies were just
giving me a Christmas present and let it go at that.
My gardening friend, Diane was going to get a huge surprise when I finally
connected with her. I had plans to take the whole bag of all of them, we'd
sort out and throw away the moldy ones, the flat and deflated ones that
couldn't take the heat of the store and used up all their resources and
died, leaving us all the firm and undiseased or damaged ones to divide
equally. I knew I'd give her the largest ones (if she'd let me, but as many
as there were, I knew we'd both get large ones) and then we'd mix them up on
her table and start counting them out between us.
Her week had been as chaotic as mine. Mine was just the chaos of home
right now with Squire being out of commission with work and just the drama
of life up here in Fairy Holler. Her's was more the seasonal stress in an
I finally hooked up with her at the end of the week, and we set a definite
date to sort and share. I informed Squire where I'd be going Friday
morning, and I set the stuffed and heavy bag of bulbs on the balcony off
son's bedroom to stay chilled until Friday just under the eaves of the house
so rains wouldn't wet and freeze them until then.
So Friday I rolled out of a warm bed covered with two dawgs, two cats and
the sun peeking a little bit thru the window, and got myself together and
informed Squire that I was off. Grabbed the HEAVY bag of bulbs off the
balcony, called Diane to give her a warning in case she wanted to hide, and
headed towards her house which is 14 miles away.
The day was bright, and I decided to grab a sweet iced tea at a neat little
affordable burger stand before going to her house, stopped at the bank and
did my Friday business on the way to get my tea, and then hooked around to
her house. I had decided to leave the dawgs at home with Squire, which
would be my undoing later on......
When she answered the door, she almost fell out when she saw the size of my
cat bag and that it was literally crammed and packed FULL of bags of bulbs.
I laughed at her amazement and knew we were about to have ourselves a ball
sorting and chatting over the booty. She has this little terrier that is a
real pistol, Abby is her name. Looks like a miniature terrier/grey hound
that has quite a piss and vinegar attitude that I love. And she adores me.
Leaps up and down in ecstatic pleasure to see me until "Aunt Maddie" picks
her up, and she promptly tries to give me the tongue and kiss me. It's
hilarious and cute. Before she would even give me the "wee wee of joy" that
some younger dogs do when someone they really like turn up. Not this time
though. We went thru our rituals of greetings, I picked her up and she
tried to kiss me before I finally put her little butt down so we could get
I was having way more fun than I should have, but we quickly came to a nice
conclusion that Diane had never had this many bulbs to plant before and it
just tickled my garden bones to find this out. We laughed and started
sorting the types, I remembered we needed to see what some of these were,
and asked if she still had her Beauty from Bulbs from Sheepers (GREAT
visual of almost every spring bulb you'd ever need or want) and of course
she did. I decided to mark the bulbs she was getting if I could find them.
(we found all but 'Pink Pride' narcissus, and there was two bags of unmarked
tulip bulbs that we won't know who until they bloom in the spring. Doncha
just LOVE surprises???)
One bag of De Caene anemone went to her. I have enough to surprise me if
they germinate. We poured out bags of similar bulbs first and searched for
moldy ones and flat, dry ones to toss. Abby was beyond curiosity. She'd go
from sniffing the trash can to jumping up on my lap like a little dog/cat
and then be off on her own adventures for a few moments before returning to
see what we were still doing.
First things first were the little's. I knew the Iris reticulata's would be
easy. There were more dried bulbs from these than anything else. Some
tulips were moldy and rather than save them by dusting them, we just tossed
'em. It wasn't like we were going to miss 3-8 bulbs out of a few
hundred...... As we located specific bulbs that had markings or remnants of
the cardboard signage left (most of the bags were gone, so some of the bulbs
were true mysteries) I hunted them up in the Sheepers bulb, and marked them
for her. Then we divided them and moved on to the next batch.
None of the narcissus were bad. In fact, all of them were two and three
nose bulbs, and whenever we had odd numbers, I automatically shoved them
towards her. I knew I was facing a task to find an empty spot to put all of
mine, whereas her and her yard would definitely benefit from all these bulbs
come Spring time.
The largest amount of bulbs we had to share were the Dutch iris. I knew
these bulbs from sight (along with all of them but the color of the tulips)
and we had little normal sized Dutch iris bulbs, and then these HUGE ones.
By the time we finished, it was time for her to get ready for work, and me
return home to decide where I'd plant all of my share.
Now we're two days later. We'd gotten some wonderful rain instead of snow or
ice the other day, and the beds were soft and cold. I had definite idea's
where to put crocus and small iris reticulata's, and Tarda daffs I decided
I'd put under the black cherry tree in the shade bed in clumps. With the
late hours I'd kept Saturday night, Squire had let me sleep way later than I
realized until I finally dragged myself out and saw it was late afternoon.
wow.........I was losing light! So after I did the dishes and helped him
with starting the pot for his beef stew (he decided he wanted to show me how
HE made beef stew, and I hafta tell ya, it was awesome!) I told him I was
going outside while I still had light to try and plant as many bulbs as I
I snagged my new soft hat with the ear flaps, located the dark, micro fleece
muffler to tie around my neck and after a few moments to discover a
sweatshirt and undershirt wasn't going to be enough outside, I found a
fleecy overshirt to throw on. Socks, couldn't find my shoes, so I grabbed
sandals and then hunted for the new kitten, Maggie. This was to be a
"family" moment, with me giving her an opportunity to be outside in the
fresh air supervised and me keeping an eye on her. Since the mean ass
little rat terrier, Peanut, from across the driveway had died Thursday, I
new Maggie wouldn't be at risk of attack from him and I could take my eyes
off her and get down to serious plantings.
The dawgs were waiting by the nook door when I came back inside to grab the
overshirt,being psychic and knowing something was afoot, and I turned them
loose to do their crazy games they play with each other, scooped up Maggie,
and the bag of bulbs, and left the nook door slightly open in case she ran
back to the nook deck and wanted back inside.
I then located my trowel that Mary Emma had given me (the wedge shaped one
with the red handle), my neat dibble stick I found at the seed store in
Knoxville for the little bulbs (cold soil meant achy fingers later, cutting
my planting down drastically, I have been collecting really GOOD tools over
the years) and my Sears trowel for the larger bulbs. Then I located the
chair pad and my super padded bean shaped kneeling pad, and was all set.
Maggie was already running under the van, over to Jerry's old truck, under
the still dead car beside my black cherry tree and shade garden on the
concrete slab, and when I called her (I didn't want her in Jerry's yard) she
actually came! Of course, Sugar and Sméagol also came when I called Maggie,
which freaked her out, she triple puffed up her tail, causing me to almost
choke myself with laughter, and she ran up the black cherry's huge trunk and
discovered a perfect perch where she could look down on me while I was in
the shade bed planting the little bulbs and the Tarda's.
The late afternoon's light was fading fast, but it wasn't so cold that I
couldn't stand it. The fleecy shirt was just heavy enough with my sweatshirt
to protect me, the chair cushion and the bean kneeler was just soft enough
on my knees, and the micro fleece muffler was just right with the silly hat
with the ear flaps. I was ready to do some serious planting. I could hear
titterings of fairies hiding under the leaves as I knelt and got comfortable
(it's probably the new hat.............)
I looked up above me and Maggie was perched on a stub of a branch I'd cut
years before, and I could hear Sugar and Sméagol growling and thrashing thru
leaves over somewhere in their dog games. To the north of me, just past my
woods in the holler below, I started hearing other sounds. As I sorted the
bulbs into types to dibble into the cold black soil, I realized what the
sounds were. Wild turkeys! They were talking to each other before roosting
and I was hearing them saying good night to each other. It was wonderful.
As I tucked little bulbs and tiny babies that had gotten knocked off, into
the small dibble holes, I listened harder and started hearing the scoldings
tit-mice and finches, and knew someone had spotted the kitten. Then I
looked up from my hovering over the soil to see that their scolding weren't
just for Maggie, Pester's or Krusty the Kat was outside checking to see what
all the hubbub was about, bub......
Before I could greet HIM, I saw another member of our feline kindle. Ol'
Fat Waddles Himself, Polluxx aka Pudd was waddling towards us underneath the
bare cherry tree. About the time he opened up his mouth to greet me, the
dawgs came rip shit tear ass up, around and over him causing him to do a fat
scramble and book off. Fastest I've seen him move since he got so fat. I
actually dropped my dibble to laugh at him.
The light was stretching thin, and I moved to the north side of the bed
where I'd finished the bed last year, and started searching for spots to
tuck bulbs into. Moving leaves around to expose the black worm soil and
composted leaves and chips from years back, I actually found the tips of my
Woodstock hyacinths were peeking outa the bed. Bad hyacinths! Get back in
there!! (this is the only problem with raised beds, as bulbs are warmer in
the soils and tend to break sooner, but then, with our strange weather
lately, it could just be that too........)
As I found little niches to tuck more bulbs into, something yellow caught my
eye.......gather the tools, put the empties into a bag, where did I leave my
sweet iced tea? Get the padded things, push up offa the ground, check on
Maggie, who had slipped me and had gone down the tree and was racing thru
the leaves like something possessed. She was loving it. Then I ambled over
to the yellow I was seeing and was amazed to see the December joke......my
yellow corydalis was still blooming! And not only that, but this past season
was a very fertile one because I have six clumps growing!!!! WOW!!!!
Little yellow britches were floating over the cut columbine-like leaves, and
a new clump of greenish yellow ones that haven't opened up yet were on
another stem just below. My eyes started looking for sprouts of corydalis,
and sure enough, there was a seeded clump of them below in the washed soils
that had hung up on the flood hump just beneath the wall. I'll lift them
later. For now they're sheltered and I'll just let them grow larger. That's
a share plantlet.
Since I was working to the next place to plant more bulbs, I walked on over
to the Lady Jane magnolia with the raised well around her, and started
gently moving leaves to clear area's to tuck the Pink Pride's. That was a
job for the wedge, and I carefully plunged the blade into the loose, rich
soil in case I came across the few bulbs I'd tucked in there last year when
I made the planter for the shrub, and placed all of the narcissus
everywhere. I also put the smaller Dutch iris bulbs and some Iris
reticulata's underneath the shrubs limbs that are loaded with fuzzy little
promises of next year's flowers.
I made a mental note to get a bag of bulb food granules off the shelves on
the kitchen deck later on. The outside motion light had come on and I had
taken the extra light forgranted, when I decided to check my watch. It was
almost six. I had been going at it for almost two hours and I still had all
those Dutch iris biggies to plant. They'd have to wait as I was starting to
feel the chill of dampness and cold getting to me. I called Maggie, and was
impressed that she came when I called her, but once again the dogs unsettled
her, and she raced towards the NSSG to hide under the new deck.
Taking this opportunity, I told the dawgs to git in the house, and they
complied reluctlantly. Sugar knows how to nose the door, and was already
inside, but Smeagol is kinda an idiot about these things. He waited for me
to open the door further for him before he'd go inside. I closed the door
behind them and started calling Maggie. Once I cornered her, we went around
the back of the house, as I searched for candidates to receive the iris
bulbs. The downstairs laundry room door beckoned me, and I realized that
son was on the computer in the dragon den, so I opened up the door and let
Maggie go inside, and shut the door behind her, and I made my way up
underneath the kitchen deck and to the western side yard.
A quick scan in the now almost darkness, showed me likely places to tuck
them, but I want to make a whole patch of them. So I decided to wait
another day when I could see where I was tucking them. The side porch swing
was a perfect place to put the bag of bulbs with the trowel's and planters
and pads, and I went on and got a bag of granular food and placed it next to
the bulbs to remind me to feed these a little bit since they were planted so
The dawgs were waiting for me at the kitchen door as I ducked inside, and as
I greeted them, Maggie popped up from the basement door and scrambled down
the hallway in hot pursuit of the kitten toys that are everywhere just for
her. Our house looks like we have a small child with the many rattling and
noise making toys that are scattered about. On top of the microwave, a
cactus was blooming red and white blossoms. How wonderful! The moisture
from the stew and the humidifier made the air warm and wonderful, and
reminded me it was colder outside than I had realized.
Squire got the rundown from me as I went to my fantastic bathroom faucet
with the intense pressure that knocks dirt from underneath fingernails, got
rid of all the black soil, and noticed in the mirror I was a walking leaf
pile. But it sure felt good to get most of those bulbs into the ground. Now
it's all up to the fairies to tuck them in deeper and coax them to show
themselves to me come true spring. The rest will be planted another day.
Tomorrow is calling for spits of rain, and despite that I'm known to plant
and play in the gardens when it rains, this is WINTER rains, and I'm not
about to ruin my garden chances with a bout of bronchitis or pneumonia. I've
already lost a whole late spring and a whole summer as it is.
The last thing I thought about before going into the kitchen to get a bowl
of hot beef stew that Squire had made was the next thing is start on the
vinca major. I have real hopes to remove ALL of it by springtime. Wish me
thanks for allowing me to share a moment with you.
madgardener up on the ridge, back in Fairy Holler, overlooking English
Mountain in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36