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Spring is almost here and I can smell the earth...


I suppose this is a natural feeling among gardeners: I feel like a part of me has been sleeping all winter and as the ground wakes up so do I.

Last fall, I went a little crazy with the bulbs. I probably planted at least 200. It’s my first house, my first “real” garden, and I have been drooling over bulb catalogs since I was a child. I somehow persuaded myself that I should take advantage of all those coupons that all the different bulb catalogs sent me. So I bought bulbs from Breck’s, and I bought bulbs from the local Bluestone Perennials, and I bought bulbs from Michigan bulbs, because everybody gave me a coupon. So yes, I did my part to try to forestall economic disaster, I tried to single-handedly keep the bulb economy going.

Then all those bulbs arrived, along with gut-checking credit card bills, and then I tried very hard to plant all those bulbs after it got cold, but before it got really cold. It took a long time. I listened to a lot of Jane Austen on audiobook. It was hard work, but it was a beautiful fall.

Then all winter long I worried. Did I plant some of those bulbs too late? Too deep? Too shallow? Each bitter freeze and thaw I looked for signs of heaving. Then in late February, some bulbs started coming up near the house. They looked like daffodils. So then I panicked. Where are the crocuses? Snowdrops? Winter aconite? Where was all the stuff that was supposed to be earlier than daffodils?

Ok, maybe those daffodils by the house came up earlier because they were old plantings from the house’s previous owner and were therefore more robust. Maybe they came up earlier because the wall of the brick house keeps the soil warmer. Or maybe SQUIRRELS got everything else! Maybe a lot of things… no need to panic…

So I had some dreams of lush bulb-filled gardens, and some nightmares of desolate bulb-less futility.

A couple of weeks later, relief came in the form of clustered green grass-like spikes that heralded the crocus parade. Ahhh… so many crocuses could not be the few last dregs of neglected bulbs from previous homeowners. I saw this house last spring while we were negotiating with the bank who owned it. There were not floods of crocuses. Just a couple of tulips, a daffodil, maybe one crocus.

And now, a few weeks after the first crocus leaves peeked out, there are satisfying clusters of green nubs of various shapes and sizes EVERYWHERE! Triumph! I know better than to expect floods of actual flowers this year. I know I should expect that the bulb plants will need a year to put on a really good show. But at least now I know that I didn’t completely kill hundreds of bulbs by planting them badly. At least I know there wasn’t some squirrel-instigated massacre of my bulbs (for which I really had no evidence, other than seeing a squirrel in my yard).

Now I can anticipate spring with good graces and wait to be blessed with a few flowers to top the greenery.

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Very well written blog and so pleased you have some flowers to show for all your hard work,had to laugh at you listening to Jane Austen whilst planting but if it works for you then why not,myself I like to have music depending on the weather as to my

12 Mar, 2009


Great blog R4N. I had a few giggles over your visions of Squirrel instigated bulb massacre. I'm glad your bulbs have made it through their first winter unscathed. Enjoy.

12 Mar, 2009


I had a chuckle, too. Lovely blog. I do hope that all your bulbs give you great pleasure, :-)

12 Mar, 2009


Very amusing blog, Rain! I know the excitement you are feeling over having your first real garden! So glad you joined GOY I think you will find it a fun and informative website. I am doing seedstarting on a large scale for the first time, (trying to save a little cash by not buying plants this year) and it is so exciting and worrisome waiting for them to sprout! Good luck with your new garden and hope to hear from you again many times! : )

12 Mar, 2009


I hope your bulbs give you lots of pleasure. It's so exciting to see them after the dark winter.

12 Mar, 2009


Enjoyed your blog...and the coupons...LOL I'm there right with you LOL. I'm still waiting patiently for the evidence that the bulbs survived along with the peonies that I planted.

happy gardening :)

12 Mar, 2009


what a lovely blog and i know the feeling so well. if i was atheletic, which i'm not, i'd do cartwheels when the bulbs show through. :o)

12 Mar, 2009

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