Friday, January 05, 2007

It's tulip time

Planting bulbs, most notably tulip, narcissus, and hyacinth, has been the extent of my winter gardening for 25 years. I see little point in laboring under cold conditions to pull the dead annuals or trim back the lantana or roses. Those chores I leave for a warm day in February or March. Bulbs cannot wait that long.

Indeed, in planting this morning, in pushing my neighbor's dead sweet gum leaves aside, I found eager little green points that herald spring bulbs. We had a warm-ish December and since I'm not a particularly deep planter, last year's survivors are up and at 'em. This is not a new scenario, but is nearly always one which bears no fruit, ie, flowers. Like the backyard narcissus who was out of its mind to come up in December, they too will be struck by freezing temps and will be played out before they even get started. Hence, the need to plant anew each year.

I gave up on catalog bulbs and fancy ones from garden houses years ago. Boxed sets from Wal-Mart and Sam's do just as well for me at a fraction of the cost. So it was that I set out with 160 mixed Darwin hybrid tulips at 8 this morning.

While I can never remember exactly where I planted the year before (note to self: take a photo), I have a history of digging in the same holes and finding the previous crop. I'm as true to it as a squirrel and his hidey-holes. Indeed, I felt eyes on the back of my head during my digging, the squirrels that are tired of my sunflower seed offerings no doubt looking for another way to plague me. Determined not to fall into the same trap, I purposely laid out a serpentine path for my front yard bulbs, forty per side. I didn't find one bulb from last year (this is a good news/bad news thing) and I have high hopes for success.

The backyard proved to be a virtual tabula rasa, even with the debacle of the narcissus. Last June we had completed the flower bed landscaping so I knew I wouldn't find any former bulbs. I did find plenty of grubworms (late, lamented). Instead of a path of tulips, I clustered the 80 I planted in sets of four.

Now I just have to sit back and wait for blooms. Or squirrels... armadillos... a deep freeze. I wonder why I torture myself and then there are the years where the color is glorious, it lasts a month, and I know why I do it over and over.

Catching up with Central214

Little did I know when I blogged about our wonderful dining experience at Central214 before Christmas that it would make the Dallas Morning News' Best Restaurants of 2006 list.

I feel so au courant.


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