Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bulbs, Mush, and Odds and Ends

I finally got the last of my bulbs in the ground today. Although the morning was foggy, it eventually turned out to be a very nice, crisp, clear fall day, with lots of sun, no rain (yay!) but cold (barely 45), especially for my middle-aged hands digging in cold, moist soil. I came in with my knuckles aching, and tonight, my legs and back are aching a bit too. It's been a couple of weeks since I did the kneeling and getting back up ritual. After down time, it always takes me a few weeks to break my body back in to the exercise that is gardening.

So, what bulbs did I plant?

Allium sphaerocephalon (Drumstick Allium)
Anemone blanda 'Blue shades'
Chionodoxa forbesii
Daffodil odorus plenus 'Double Campernelle'
Crocus sieberi 'Spring Beauty'
Tulipa pulchella 'Persian Pearl'
Tulipa clusiana 'Lady Jane'

I bought all of them from High Country Gardens, which was having an online sale. They went into the front bed where I planted two new trees a couple of months ago. I'll probably go back out tomorrow morning and cover the Crocuses and the Tulips with some wire mesh to keep the squirrels out.

A few weeks ago I also planted some Narcissus 'Sweet Pomponette', which I bought locally (I've already forgotten where) and two clusters of big Alliums -- 'Globemaster' and 'Purple Sensation', which came from Brent and Becky's. The big Alliums went into the two big culvert planters in the gravel garden, with Mexican feather grass and two Agaves (Agave parryi 'J.C. Raulston' in one planter and Agave ovatifolia/Whale's Tongue Agave in the other).

We also had our first frost a few weeks ago, and unfortunately, I dithered too long about where to put my Brugmansias for the winter. The garage has no light, but it does have warmth, and the shed has light, but no warmth. They got bitten by the frost, and turned to mush. Now they're belatedly living in the shed, but they look very sad, and they make me sad too. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that they survive. I'm hopeful, because the roots didn't freeze. My plan is to cut them back in the spring to what looks like live wood, and see how they do. If anyone has any advice, please pass it on!

Poor, sad, frostbitten Brugs, shivering in the shed


I still have lots of little odds and ends of chores that I'd like to get done this winter, when I can. I want to do as much as possible now so that I don't have to do as much in the spring or during the summer, when anything I move will be stressed by drought. I planted a handful of shrubs too far forward in the back bed. They need to be closer to the fence, so that I can plant some flowering perennials in front of them. It's one of those "What was I thinking?" things. Actually I know what I was thinking when I planted them. I didn't have much experience with shrubs when I moved here, and I wanted to make sure they had plenty of room. Well, I gave them too much room, I think. There are a handful of perennials planted close to the fence, behind the shrubs (D'oh!), so basically everything just needs to switch places.

I have several large clumps of Pacific Coast Iris that need to be divided and spread out along the front of that same bed. In another bed I have two large clumps of 'Little Joe' Joe-Pye Weed that are too tall for their spot, so I need to move them. I have a boatload of scattered Lady's Mantle seedlings that I want to transplant into the front. And I planted a Veronicastrum in too much shade, it's lost there and really struggling. It needs sun and it's such a striking-looking plant (IMO) it needs to be front and center somewhere so it can really show off.

Every time I think I'm making progress, as soon as I cross one thing off the list, I add two more...

I wonder if the neighbors will think I'm nuts if I start gardening in my raincoat? Ah, who cares what the neighbors think.


  1. were busy! I also have a growing collection of bulbs waiting to be planted...and I'm NOT looking forward to it! Must think about the payoff in a few months when I'll barely remember being soaked to the bone, muddy from head to toe trying to wedge those last few bulbs into place! I don't think we ever "finish" our gardens. I'm always moving things around, and I can practically feel the fear in my plants when they see me with a shovel and "that look" in my eye!

  2. Sorry about yor Brugs. Hope they survive.
    Your garden will be so pretty when all those bulbs are blooming. I barely bought any and they are still not all planted. Hope you aren't too sore!
    My list hasn't really gotten any shorter. I still have lots of cleaning up to do.

  3. I had a brug that froze one year. I planned for its death, and bought a different plant for that space. When I was removing the soil, I realized the brug was not dead after all - unfortunately, I killed it later on. :( Anyway, I bet your brugs will be just fine come spring. Good luck with your list. It seems to be the kind of thing that's never ending!

  4. Knock one item off the to-do list and add two more...yep, that sounds about right. Would we have it any other way?

  5. Your brugmansias will be fine as the frost damage seems to be just on the leaves - stems still look alive. In mild years, they are root hardy in the ground(they die to the ground) but because we lack heat, they take forever to emerge, the slugs LOVE the young leaves and stems, and they usually don't achieve blooming size in a year. They don't need light but a little warmth (above freezing) would be good.

  6. Alison, I nodded my head in agreement and empathy the whole way through. The misplaced shrubs are a specialty of mine, too. As for the brugs, what we do here is cut back the mushy stems to live stem so the rot doesn't travel down. Mulch them well and I think they'll be fine.

  7. Good choices on the bulbs. I thought it odd when High Country Gardens started selling them. I wonder whether they make much money. Agave parryi has worked for me, also Agave toumeyana & Agave palmeri. But I have lost many, many others. I planted a dark blue Hyacinth in my p-patch plot. I've always admired it, 'Peter Stuyvesant' & also the dark blue Scilla peruviana. I don't think they'll bloom together.

  8. Who cares what the neighbors think!! Nice brain dump ;-)
    I planted a bunch of bulbs too, today found a couple tulip bulbs dug up and half eaten...rotten squirrels.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.