This has been the first year in many that I finished planting all of my bulbs before Christmas. The fact that I did not buy as many bulbs as in previous years and gave some bulbs to others should not detract from my overall sense of bulb accomplishment.
I’ve planted bulbs as late as mid January, and honestly I do not remember if those blooms were less vigorous because of the delay. The point is to get them in the ground, rather than allow them to get lost in plain view just inside the door of the shed.
A good goal is to plant bulbs before Thanksgiving (which means this weekend). After the big food holiday, we switch into holiday mode — gift buying, tree decorating, party hopping, parking place hunting … If you haven’t planted your bulbs by Dec. 22, you might consider sticking a bow on the bag and making them another gardener’s problem.
Theoretically I have a lot of bulbs already in the ground, primarily daffodils. By this time of year I would expect to see the very earliest of green stems pushing up from the soil.
The drought hasn’t been kind to a great many growing things, and I won’t be surprised if some of those daffodil bulbs became emergency squirrel food. Squirrels tend to dig up daffodil bulbs, wiggle their noses in disdain, then return to their search for tulip bulbs.
At this point I have more bulbs in pots than in the ground. After the potted bulbs bloom, I lug them to the back of the house, out of sight.
One day in late summer I was feeling brave, and perhaps bored. I dumped the soil into a wheelbarrow and sorted through the bulbs. Perhaps an eighth of the stash was rotten, but most seemed ready to grow again, especially the hyacinth. Sorting through all of those pots was a big job, and by the time the day warmed, I was hot and cranky.
Yet, the advantage of bulbs in pots is you can give the blooms as a gift, take them to work or move them to the kitchen table.
Another step forward
Of course, chit-chat about bulbs is not what is primary in my mind right now.
Perhaps if I started right now I would have enough time to write all the thank-you notes that are merited. So many people have provided small and large kindnesses after the death of my Handsome Woodsman Nov. 1.
I’m trying my best to take people’s suggestions. I had a counseling session, went to a grief meeting, indulged in a massage, soaked in a friend’s hot tub and took several day off from work. I must admit, I did some of those things in case people started telling me what they thought I should do. This way I can say I’m taking good care of myself.
The reality is simply that things will be tough for a while.
Luckily, my job does not include operating heavy equipment nor being in charge of the lives of small children.
One day one of my sweet coworkers saw me crying at my desk and stopped to offer comfort.
“Is there anything I can do?” she asked so sincerely.
“No, there’s not.”
However, it is helpful to know that so many of you are willing to do anything I needed, if I knew what I needed …
The Handsome Woodsman’s adult son is staying with me right now, which has been important. We’re both muddling through, aching in nearly the same way and missing the same, very tall man.