e happened lately within elbow’s distance of my little sliver of the world. Two friends had surgery to remove cancer. Both of my parents and one of my favorite Santa impersonators have retired. My nephew started college. My friend Samantha asked me to be her maid of honor and my mother’s nearly-perfect boyfriend died of a heart attack.
I don’t mean to belittle any of these events by stringing them together, because each is a very big deal, indeed.
My point is that life happens, all around us, all of the time. It’s beautiful, and sometimes sad and often one step in a direction that leads to the next big thing.
More than a year ago, my doctors told me I had a very early stage of uterine cancer. The pea-sized yuck was surgically removed, along with other body parts that were no longer needed.
It’s all good now, but in February 2015, my knees were wobbling.
An acquaintance told me that my outlook would change. He said this had been the case for him, and I knew it was true. He had this wispy sound to his voice, as if he was remembering his first love “You will never be the same,” he said.
I have not experienced the transformation he predicted. Yet, I feel as if life’s dramas have become blurred.
If the joys and sorrows of my life were colors, those colors would blend.
Of course, all of this musing circles back to gardening.
When I plant bulbs this fall, I’m counting on being here to enjoy them in their prime.
The necessary step, of course, is getting my hands dirty.
Up until a few weeks ago, my big bags of bulbs were in a big pile at the base of the television. The theory was that if I tripped over them, repeatedly, I would be more likely to put those puppies in the ground.
My beau invited his band mate to the house to practice for a gig. He cleaned up by shoving things out of sight. My bulbs were tossed into the outdoor plastic storage locker, where we keep the Sluggo and trowels.
At least now if I forget to plant the bulbs this year, it will officially be my boyfriend’s fault.
While we’re talking about flower bulbs, this is a good time to plant garlic bulbs as well.
The folks at www.garlicworld.com in Gilroy point to November and December as the prime bulb-planting months.
Some folks suggest planting garlic on the shortest day of the year and harvesting garlic on the on the longest day of the year.
That’s easy to remember right now. However, getting bulbs in the ground while you’re thinking about is better than continuing to trip over a bag in the living room.
Garlic is related to the lily family and the plants also send up a nondescript, lily-esque flower. It’s best to snip the blooms so that more energy is sent into the bulb.
Garlic World also states that garlic needs twice as much fertilizer as most vegetables, and that planting garlic near roses will make roses more fragrant.
Last month when I chatted with Jerry Mendon, of Mendon’s Nursery in Paradise, he said his nursery has cut back on bulb sales and now carried mostly daffodils.
At this point, big-box stores sell bulbs cheaper than Jerry can purchase them wholesale, he said.
That makes me really sad, but I’m one of those people to blame because I’ll buy a huge bag of bulbs on impulse when I’m shopping for toothpaste and toilet paper.
Jerry said he hates seeing bulbs planted in rows.
“It drives me nuts. It’s not natural,” Jerry said, getting close to a bulb-induced rant.
When he was a young man he was doing some work on the side for an English gardener employed at a fancy estate.
The gardener “took some ranunculus and threw them in the air, Jerry recalled. Whereever they landed, that’s where they were planted. He also never planted an even number of bulbs, and never, never in a row.
Bulbs do need phosphorous, a nutrient that does not move within the soil. For this reason, it’s best to put phosphorous in the bottom of the hole, then cover with a light amount of soil. The roots from the bulb will grow through the phosphorous zone.
Bone meal, feather meal or cottonseed meal will do the job.
Jerry and his crew will be glad to help you pick out good all-purpose fertilizers, or soils amended with nutrients.