Sunday, December 16, 2007


At long last I have finished planting my bulbs. I spent an hour or so placing and planting the last 200 bulbs sitting in my garage. I did it really quickly because it was really cold and a nasty storm was on it's way. I had to crack through the mushroom compost mulch with a shovel to dig the holes. My biggest surprise was finding literally twenty or thirty active earthworms in each planting hole (I dig large holes and plant 5 or 6 bulbs in each one). I was really surprised to find the worms so close to the soil surface and still wriggling about. I guess I though it would be too cold for them. Maybe my late mulch application helped keep the soil warmer.

Anyway, here are some of the varieties I planted: 'Red Devon' daffs (white with bright orange cup); 'Snow Frills' Daffs (pale yellow with white cup); 'Double Smiles' Daffs (an unknown color since they were a gift!); 'Dreamlight' Daffs (a 1934 heirloom); 'Lady Derby' hyacinth (soft pink); 'Marie' hyacinth (rich, dark purple); and a few Allium caeruleum for good measure.

As if I needed another reason to look forward to the spring....

Monday, December 10, 2007

More Perennials

My Bluestone Perennials catalog arrived in the mail today. A bit early for my taste, but I have a feeling that this isn't the only one I'm going to get from them this winter. Of course I couldn't help flipping through it once I saw what is on the front of my favorite plants in a variety I don't have! Phlox stolonifera 'Sherwood Purple' - If you don't grow woodland phlox, this is the year to plant it. Another favorite woodland variety is Phlox divaricata. They have 'London Grove' in the catalog, but I think the color is washed out and prefer the darker blue varieties.

Another 'must have' for me is Penstemon 'Electric Blue' (which I may have to mulch for the winter - it's zone 6-9 - and we are borderline 5-6). I'm also a sucker for Euphorbias. I may try a new one from them called 'First Blush' - it looks awfully interesting in the picture. So does 'Tasmanian Tiger' with beautiful white variegation. I grow the annual Euphorbia marginata (Snow on the Mountain) every year from seed that originally came from my great-great grandmother's garden and was given to me by my Nana a few years before she passed away. It is one of my favorite self sowing annuals for the garden.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Flower Bulbs and Light Bulbs

Well, I was all set to plant the rest of my bulbs this afternoon, when Mother Nature threw a wrench in the works yet again! Rain - and freezing rain at that! Now they'll have to sit in the garage a few more days. I swear I'm going to do it before Christmas....

Speaking of Christmas, I was listening to the radio this morning and they were talking about stringing lights on your trees and shrubs and how different it is now compared to 30 years ago. My dad used to put those fat multi-colored bulbs around our front windows using little brass tea cup hooks. The lights would get so hot, you could feel it through the window on the inside. My sister and I would press our lips against the warm glass at night. Now there are net lights, icicle lights, fiber optic lights, animated lit-up reindeer, and those enormous (read: tacky) blow up, parachute fabric things. The whir of their motors would drive me crazy! What ever happened to sprigs of holly and boughs of evergreens tacked to the front door and a couple of yards of white pine garland wrapped around the porch railing? To me, using nature's bounty to decorate for the holidays is so much more beautiful than all those lights. I'll take pine cones over twinkle lights any day. The photo above was taken at the farm last year and everything but the magnolia came from our property or the neighbors.