with the destruction that Sugar seems hell bent on doing massive damage to my raised beds where the added soil is (I just wonder if the soil I've poured into these beds recently is the only reason she's digging, since she doesn't dig anywhere else...............) I naievely thought I'd start there and then plug in bulbs in all of the container gardens that are scattered across the front and drifts over to the side.
Go get another 40 pound bag of cheap composted whatever it is with the sand that comes from North Carolina and Lowe's sells for 98c a bag, and pull out the chimney cover to sit on. Grabbed the gloves this time to mix the dirt and bulb food together with and poured half a bag into the long white boxes. It took almost two bags for the soil and I still need to top dress them with a little more soil for covers for the bulbs now.
I could hear Sugar's toenails on the door as she stood on her tippy toes to see what I was doing, and I worried slightly at what she would do to "get back at me" for leaving her inside, but I was completely under the spell of the teeny bulb fairies as I started sorting out what was left and trying to decide who to plant into the two boxes. It was immediately evident that I didn't have enough containers to plant all the bulbs. Shoving that idea aside, I proceeded to pick out the most colorful bulbs and divide them into two piles.
The rest would have to go other places.
Tri-colored crocus in little piles of 3 and 5 for each box, Pushkinina, Chionodoxa, two boxes each of the Ornithogalum's, the bag of Frittleria that has yellow and burgandy bells, the Triteleia Queen Faviola Brodiaea, a box of snowdrops for each box and one bag divided up between the two of scilloides libanotica Puschkinia. As I planted each little bulb, I could almost hear the whispers of the fairies and their approval. The bulbs tucked into the cold soil, and as I poured a top layer over them and firmed it up, I was inspired to keep going.
so I got up and went inside and found the leash and put it on Sugar and called Rose and we all went back outside after I turned on the answer machine with the goofy Irish lady tellin' ya that the mistress was out in the garden plantin' fleurs and boolbs wi' the fairies and ta leave yer message" <g> picked up the bulgeling bag of bulbs and started picking spots to poke them in.
A few tucked under the black cherry tree, then quite a few in the concrete containers I got at my mom's and that changes all the time because the fairies in charge can't decide what they want to survive and return in it. I poked crocus corms with little tips poking out and hooked over in over anticipation of springtime and real soil amongst the frozen stems of the sedum that draped over the edge of the pot. Springtime will be most pleasurable as I'm coming outside to go to work next year.........
I hooked my foot thru the leash handle and stopped at the larger container that shows promise that the asters have so far survived and there were seedheads of rudbeckia's lying in wait for germination for next year. Poke, poke, poke, and gently push an already sprouted crocus into the holes being careful not to break off the emerging shoot, I worked my way thru all the pots that take up the precious space in my front sliver.
The amazing pot of coleus and other things was finished, but I still found life in the little mum I had tucked in for last days color as I gently planted bulbs and corms into the cold soil. Then move over to the pot with the oats grass that is all tan and rustles and sings in the winds as the sun was warming my shoulders like a light shawl and I tucked a few random surprises in there as well. then I tried to poke a few into the pots that held the achillea and a few into the pot with the sedums.
Over to the side yard, I notice something else that needs doing before the rains and snows come.....whisperings in my ear like little bees (which were taking advantage of the warmth and few remaining blossoms on the blue Egnima despite the freezes and were humming in happiness themselves) I made my way over towards the destroyed flowerbed that lies next to the fountain. It made me cry, the damage she'd done this time, and I looked at her and told her she'd been very bad to mama and dug in her garden and she cut her eyes towards the bed and tucked her tail and looked at me with those eyes of hers...........and I hooked the leash handle over the enormous rebar that sticks out of the knothole in the north side of the pawlonia and walked over to the Vitex bed and felt the ground and it wasn't cold and covered in huge, tan, fuzzy pawlonia leaves.
Perfect! I then proceeded to dump all the bags into a wicker basket and mixed them up, placed my goatskin gloves and a little aluminum trowel with a broken tip that was for smaller bulbs in the basket and sat down and started using the little trowel to feel out places to tuck corms and bulbs into. As I worked around the bed, I found perfect soil under the Hellebores that I tucked into this bed three years now that are catching their first wind and will wow me next spring (hopefully Sugar will not DARE to dig up this bed or by the gods of leashes and last hopes she WILL no longer live here). I watched her as she was tethered to the tree, looking after Rose who was happily going into the woods to sniff around and I told her this.
I also spoke quietly to her and talked about what I was doing and told her what a good dawg she was being, despite that she was a prisoner and we'll see if all my efforts were for naught. I got to the eastern portion of the bed and decided to look for another spot. I still had about 200 bulbs left. Sat down and tucked myself up under the boughs of the oak leaf hydrangea and in between the two major stems where I have piled up composted cow manure and such over the last four years was a soft bed of wonderful just waiting for a variety of teeny bulbs and such. I tucked them in with love and moved about the warmed, loose rich soil and pulled away and ripped out a honeysuckle vine that was sneaking up to strangle her next year.
I got up and retreived Sugar and we walked down to the woods and I stopped and plugged in the last 20 into the raised bed next to the Mock Orange bush I'd planted in front of the tulip poplar. Inside the house I praised Sugar for being a good girl, let Rose in as she was slower and was scratching at the kitchen door and gave them a Milk bone. All the tucking and planting and flittering about with my muddy fingers and 1026 bulbs later had left me hungry. I looked at the clock and two hours had passed unnoticed.
That wonderful faucet on the left side of our double sink in the bathroom that blasts the most stubborn mud and dirt from under fingernails was put into use and my hands were quickly cleaned as much as they could be. My callouses are stained, I can't fix that. Besides, I'm proud that I am a gardener. I filled up the girls bowls, made sure that the cats had food, opened up a pouch for the old woman, Sweetie cat who is now going on 21, and fixed myself a ham and jalapeno pepper jack sammich, with a blueberry turnover first for teasers. I like to eat dessert sometimes first. Heck....son had drained the tea, so no sweet iced to to regenerate me. Put on the kettle, get down the jar and plunk a large bag into it and stand and munch my sammich while I hear Rose crunching her kibbles. Lazy old arthritic dawg, she lays and eats. Sugar stands next to her waiting for her to allow her to step over and nibble out of the second bowl.
I started back here to tell you all what had happened today, and I decided it was way time to plant what was waiting by the driveway and was now hidden by next years Zebrina's leaves that are already a foot tall. This time I dodged the girls and told them to watch the house, and I went out quickly and closed the door and looked for my trusty Crafty shovel.
There is nothing nicer than parting back leaves of next years plants to discover hidden treasures you've forgotten about. How I could forget what I had sitting there is only because I haven't been outside as much as I would like from the distractions of work and stresses at home. This is the time I should be outside, healing with the simple magic of my gardens and instead, I've been rolling around in the dark pit and sleeping alot.
As I parted the zebrina leaves I was surprised to find not one gallon pot of Dorothy Wycliff Peiris, but two of them. I'd forgotten that I'd gotten them for $1 each. They were loaded with buds for next year and I decided right then and there to plant one in the shade bed under the black cherry behind the whiskey barrel I've half filled with dirt and that is home to Virginia bluebells and one little narcissus. The corms of the fall blooming Cyclamin never returned for me, but it won't be my last attempt at them.
The soft soil was easy to part with the shovel and the pieris slipped in like it lived there all the time. I decided to plant the other one at the top of the neat waterfall boulder on the first terrace just below the baby maple and pawlonia. I'd lost the evergreen this summer because it needed way more light than what it got there, and the hole where it had tried was still soft. The pieris settled into the hole and looked like it always should have been there in the first place.
Next was the red rhod that I'd gotten for $2.50. I plugged the bud heavy three gallon plant behind the Joe Pye, disturbing bulbs of possibly the blue woods hyacinths that I replanted at the edge of the hole I'd dug for the rhod. Hopefully the shelter of the Eupatoria will shelter the rhod this summer, if not, I will relocate it later on after it blooms. As I planted it, I noted that there were LOTS of single Kerria japonica shoots far from the original plant. This is another traveling bush apparently. I will see if I can transplant some babies this spring since they do so well here now. And while I was tucking bulbs under leaves of the Hellebore, I noticed that the double Kerria Japonica in the NSSG had grown some more. Maybe this spring it will get a second wind and grow back into a little bush to join the butterfly bush and the red twig varigated dogwood that are at that end of the bed.
Back to the driveway, and part the leaves and wow. A 5 gallon Henry Itea with red leaves still attached to it. Check the tag, it will get 4-5 foot with bee drawing spires of white blossoms (I remember them blooming at work) so I plunked it at the corner of the fig bed next to the spirea that resides outside the box too in the rich drain soil from the bed. There are alot of beds next to beds around here. I'll plant outside the boxes because of lack of spaces. <g>
Once I had the Itea plugged in and tamped down, I had to think where I wanted the one gallon burning bushes. Those will get huge and I didn't just want to plug them in. Once you plant those, they don't move very well at all. So I went to the second level just below the tomato/perennial boxes (one of which Sugar has totally destroyed now :( ) and where I had carefully planted the Deutzia that Brudder John had sent me in the hollow just below the boxes. On the ground at the bottom of the natural wall, west of the Black Knight butterfly bush I decided to plug them both in. Their bright leaves will be a nice relief come next fall and their upright habits will be hilarious to see once they get a taste of the soil and start growing.
By the time I had the last pot in, Squire was back and it was time to come in for good. The sun's warmth was different and clouds were moving in and the wind was cooler than it had been. I didn't want anything to ruin the magic I had created for myself today. It was a very healing day. Once inside, I washed up, and I'm finally able to finish talking to my friends about the days happening. Now all I have to do is forget all the places where I tucked all those spring ephemerals and get back to you when they start up their magic in February adn March. thanks for allowing me to share with you. It's been a long time. The fairies were good to me today.
madgardener , up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking English Mountain in Eastern Tennessee zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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.