Friday, September 08, 2006

Flower Power

[Previously Posted on my Vox Blog Sep 8, 2006 at 5:07 PM]
[There were pictures with this post, but Blogger is being difficult today and won't upload them.]

Grace, the artist, and I went to Home Depot today so we could get some mums. Honestly, after losing so many plants over this brutal Texas summer, we were desperate to find something to plant now that it's cooled all the way down to the lower 90s! Maybe we were jumping the gun just a wee bit, but mums we hunted and mums we brought home. I'll put mine in pots on the front porch over the weekend and take pictures.

When I tried to walk by the bulbs, I started feeling lightheaded. The thing is, if bulbs are already on display in the garden department, then fall is officially on the way, which means cooler weather, and being able to go out-of-doors of an afternoon to the ... (and here I got so giddy I almost swooned) ... to the cutting garden! Visions of having a cutting garden, and arranging flowers for my new dining table made me weak in the knees.

100_0636.jpg (BTW, that's Grace, the artist, in the background.) I've never been much into gardening (a long story, that), but now my fantasy was showing me in gorgeous, riotous color that I could have all the bulbs I wanted along the side of the house. All I'd have to do was dig out and prepare a bed for bulbs, plant them, and in the spring there would be tons of flowers. Of course, when I say "dig out" I mean Tomcat will do that part for me (ahem - I wuv u, Schmoopie.)

In this euphoric state, I started choosing bulbs for my cutting garden - no, make that My Cutting Garden - that would go with the dining room decor. I got these:

100_0660.jpg That's 40 bulbs each of tulips, daffodils, and ranunculous, plus 12 of fresia. I hope that will be enough.
Do you remember a book called Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach? Somewhere in there, probably in one of her fall month entries, Sarah described her first experience with planting tulips, which was the same as mine, many years ago: she followed the instructions that came with the bulbs and planted them four inches apart (another method is to take a handful of bulbs and scatter them on the ground, planting them where they land). She waited all during autumn and winter, expecting to be rewarded with dramatic masses of gorgeous blooms. That didn't happen. What she got were a few spindly tulips here and there, sans drama.
Like me, Sarah thought the problem must be due to something she had done/not done correctly. I knew her pain. One fall day years later, she said, she came across a man planting bulbs in an area where she had seen tulips blooming their little heads off, so she stopped and asked him how he managed that. He told her to ignore the instructions that come with the bulbs and do this instead: dig a hole and plant five bulbs - one in the middle, the others surrounding it. Sarah said when she planted her tulips that way, she was never again disappointed!
That's how I'm going to do it this time, and if that doesn't work I'll probably give up (and Tomcat will be very annoyed about digging that flower bed.)