Over the years I have lived at my home, I have tucked
hundreds of bulbs into the clay soil.
Some I dug from overcrowded beds at the homes of my mother and
grandmother. I dug some out of the cow
pasture where my grandmother tossed them after she removed them from her
overcrowded beds. I purchased many
Digging into the hard clay underneath tree roots is free
aerobic exercise and weight training for me: I use a large mattock to dig the
holes in the forest floor. In the
spring, swaths of white and yellow flowers reward me for my work. My gravel driveway meanders across a creek
and through some woods before it terminates at my house, and I enjoy seeing the
bulbs bloom with the dogwoods in the early spring.
|Baby holding a daffodil|
Originally, I planned for the bulbs to multiply
and to produce wide swaths of yellow and white through the woods so that
eventually yellow and white flowers would carpet the forest floor in the
The bulbs have not obeyed my orders to multiply, but I enjoy
the survivors. Living among tree roots
is difficult; the large trees gobble spare nutrients and water. In my flowerbeds, however, where the bulbs
are able to grow without competition from overwhelming opponents, yellow and
white flowers signal the arrival of spring, and the bulbs are so happy that I
need to divide them.
When I plant bulbs, I dig a hole about twice the length of
the bulb, and I space the bulbs three to six inches apart. In new beds, I put in some bone meal, an
organic source of the potassium bulbs need.
I put the bulb in the soil with the pointed side up, and I cover it with
soil and mulch. After the blooms fade, I
allow the foliage to die naturally; bulbs obtain nutrients through their leaves
to support the next year’s flowers.
|Baby trying to eat a daffodil|
Although it’s a little late to plant bulbs this year,
there’s still time, and garden centers have bulbs for sale. I finished planting my garlic this past
weekend; it’s also late to plant garlic, but I followed the same method of
planting I did for the flower bulbs and I expect a harvest in the summer. Many gardening recommendations to plant bulbs
in September are written for gardeners who live where the ground freezes and
prohibits gardening during the winter.
No babies actually ate any daffodils, although they wanted to taste them, of course.