hydrangea blossoming

hydrangea blossoming
Hydrangea on the Edge of Blooming

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Going to Bed

It is the time of putting the garden to bed.  You really need to get it done before spring comes, or at least the absolutely essential part needs to be done.  But it really would be best to get out there in the rain and grey and cold and do it all now, not in the spring.  But it's really hard.  Because it's cold and it's grey, and it's wet, and no immediate good will come of it.

Thus have I tried these last ten days to get at least some of those essential chores done.  There will be no tulips in the spring if I do not plant them in the fall, of course, and so that is the very highest of the priorities.  I have managed 4.5 dozen tulip and daffodil bulbs and 4 dozen crocuses.  It's not as easy as just digging a hole and dropping them in, unfortunately, because during the last part of the summer, I quit weeding (I take Ira Gershwin very seriously when he says, Summertime and the living is easy).  Of course, the weeds didn't quit growing, so before bulbs can be planted, weeds have to be unplanted.

Also of high importance is the planting of garlic which is not of the highest importance because you can buy garlic easily in the summer when it ripens, but you can't buy a yardful of tulips anytime unless you plant them in the fall.  In Idaho and Massachusetts, I planted bulbs about once in my lifetime (each place) and they came up every spring thence.  But here, they may come back one or two years with actual flowers, but mostly it's just leaves the second year and then nothing.  Perhaps the somethings eat them, but I think it more likely that they get too wet over the summer in our very wet yard.  Fertilizing them does not seem to make any particular difference.  I have adjusted, have gotten used to the idea that I need to procure 4-6 dozen bulbs, sometime around October 1 and get them in the ground sometime before November 1.  And I planted a dozen garlic bulbs, which will provide a lot of garlic next fall, but probably not enough.  But then there's the grocery store for a backup.

By now, however, there's a bunch of stuff that has gotten done: the bulbs; the raspberries are mostly cut back (although we were still getting about a cup of raspberries every few days up until the last two weeks from the everbearing berry plants.  They don't seem to care that it rarely gets above 55 and that they see sun only rarely.  The lilies and the hydrangeas are mostly cut back.  The kitchen is full of seed pods from various plants, awaiting my collecting and bagging them for spring planting.  The fruit trees need work, the forsythia needs work, the day lilies, crycosmia, shastas, lunarias all call to me as I go by, 'Please so kind as to make me shorter!'  But they are yet tall.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace, but not enough gets done.  The list gets longer, the days get shorter.  Oh, Garden!  Just go to bed.