Underestimating Gardening Tasks

I am enjoying the unseasonably warm temperatures. The late mornings are still a bit chilly when I go out to work in my yard, so I don’t get the full benefit of the 70+ high temperature, but it’s still nice to be able to work without freezing my fingers and toes.

I have learned that when it comes to gardening, I always underestimate the time it takes to any task, and planting this last batch of bulbs is no different. I am placing them between the daylilies I planted a couple of months ago, so I figured the ground would be easy to work, but unfortunately, I let the prostrate bindweed take hold. I started out digging it up, but discovered that I was also digging up the newly planted daylilies, so I decided to wait until it was time to plant the tulips and do it all at once (weed and plant). And so I really have my work set out for me.

I also have to decide what to do with the lily trees I planted. The first twenty had a note on the package to plant 3” deep, which I did. A second batch from another company that I received ten days after the first batch said to plant 6” deep, which I also did. Concerned about the disparity of depths, I checked online, and the online instructions from the company where I bought the first twenty said to plant 10” deep. If I can figure out where the bulbs are (I raked the area flat, so it’s anyone’s guess), I might try to dig them up and replant them, but if the cooler weather comes too quickly or if my knees give out, I will have to wait until next fall and buy the bulbs again. Which I do not want to do because they are relatively expensive.

I am so not a gardener! Though I suppose, by the time I get my yard landscaped, I’ll at least know a bit more about what I am doing. It’s too bad about the lilies — I was really looking forward to an eventual lily tree forest of six-foot-tall plants. Apparently, the plants die back every winter, and every spring for three or four years, they come back taller than ever until they eventually grow to their full height. Planting new bulbs next fall would put the “forest” back another year so I wouldn’t see the full growth until the fourth year.

The good news is that if I decide to try to replant, and if I can find the bulbs, it should be an easy enough task since the ground was worked to at least a 6” depth.

But then, there is that comment I made earlier, that I always underestimate the time it takes to do any gardening task. Still, I can take comfort from knowing that at least the weather will be warm for a my bulb hunt.

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Treasure Hunt

I’ve been going on a treasure hunt every day, looking for signs of spring. A few leaves from the bulbs I planted have started peeking through the soil, which has been fun to see.

Even better, as a special surprise, I found one dwarf iris blooming in a far corner of the yard.

I suppose it’s just as well most of the bulbs haven’t yet broken ground — it’s snowing right now, and I’m not sure how hardy the poor things are. It’s not that cold, though, so they should be okay. (I’m okay too, sitting here at my warm computer, thinking of the flowers to come, and drinking a cup of blueberry tea.)

The most interesting aspect of the bulbs so far are the ones I didn’t plant. Last year, I noticed there were a few flowers by the garage — a crocus, an allium or two, and a couple of daffodils.

We thought it was the watering of that small garden plot that caused the problems with the garage’s foundation, so I tried to move as many bulbs as I could. I dug deep and sifted through the soil several times, and thought I’d gotten them all, but this year, there is an expanse of growing bulbs — several dozen at least. Considering my efforts to dig up the bulbs, the disturbance of the soil when the garage was torn down, and the additional digging when the sidewalk was pried up, there really shouldn’t have been any bulbs left. But there they are — if they survive the snow.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.