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Sunday, May 18, 2008

Adventures In Planting

Friday afternoon when I got home from work, I went outside to plant my bulbs just as I'd planned. I borrowed the bucket of garden tools from my dad, he came over and turned the water on for me in the basement. (Explanation: In MN it gets cold enough that we turn the outside water off in our basements to keep the pipes from freezing and bursting over the winter. I hadn't turned mine back on yet this spring.) I gathered my bulbs, a bucket of water to soak them in, and a lawn chair and headed out to the garden.

Since the temperatures were supposed to be moderate, I uncovered the tree peony, and to my surprise, it looked fabulous! After the way it looked at the end of last year, I expected to find nothing except a stick, instead I found a strong stalk with a bud on the end of it. I put the plastic fence back around it to protect it from rabbits and it was still looking good when I checked on it today.

The first to go in were the daffodils. I ordered another variety and there were only 5. It was quick and easy. Hurrah!

Next, I took my irises out of the bag. They looked like the giant prawns (shrimp) I had in Australia and I goggled over that for a little while. Then I read the planting directions and went, yikes! They had to be 18" apart from each other and they grow like hugely tall. While I'm contemplating where the hell I'm going to put this, both my parents join me and we discuss where the irises can go. The tree ring was the final decision.

My dad (who is still on restriction) took down the chicken wire so that I could get in there with my bulbs. I dug out the stubborn tiger lily that my dad and I managed not to dig out of the ground last fall and my mom comes over and points out all these things that I think are weeds are more tiger lilies! Those things are invasive as hell, apparently.

I tried to dig them up, straightened, and banged my head into a low tree branch. That hurt. The second time I banged into it, my mom told my dad to go home and the get the saw--the branch was coming down. After making sure my skull wasn't bleeding, I held the branch while my dad sawed.

At last, I got the irises planted and then opened my snow lilies. All six bulbs were moldy! I picked off the parts of the bulbs that seemed rotten and planted them over by the evergreens with the tiger lilies. Let them fight it out for space.

Now came the 8 tree lilies. My plan with them was to plant them in front of the evergreens, but as I tried to bury the bulb hole digger into the ground, I hit tree roots. This wasn't going to work. Now we had to have another consultation--where was I going to put them? They grow up to 100" tall, so it's not as if they can go into the garden.

After thinking about it, I decided to plant them in the dirt behind the big garden. That way they won't be interfering with my view of the other flowers, but I'll still be able to see them.

I ran into the first problem quickly. The ground had been tamped down by the guy who built my garden wall and I couldn't get the bulb hole digger more than an inch or so down. (I have the kind you step on, so that there isn't a lot of bending involved.) I decide to water down the ground, thinking that water will soften the dirt. It didn't, but it did make my shoes wet and the ground around the area muddy. Can you see where this is going? I stand on the bulb hole digger with both feet, trying to drive it in deeper. I slip off of it and fall on my butt in the mud. Yes, it was hugely embarrassing. I'm hoping that no one--especially my neighbors--saw my pratfall.

When I stand, my butt is muddy and so are my new moccasins. Yes, I should have worn the old ones, but they have holes in them and really, how dirty would the new ones get anyway? Um, yeah. Not good. Injuries were limited to my knee which I must have wrenched when I slipped and my back. Both are still sore today, but not horrible.

At last, all the tree lilies are in the ground. Now I'm ready to quit, but I can't. I can't waste another afternoon doing this. The hostas went in next near another set of evergreens since they like shade. I had to rip through grass on this planting, but it didn't take too long.

Last is the Columbine (6 plants) and something that's spelled similar to crocus, but isn't a crocus. There are 16 bulbs. I'm crabby. I'm muddy. I'm sore. I want these damn things in the ground pronto so I can take a shower and veg out. It took longer than I liked and then I had to water everything, but I finally made it in the house around 7:30. It rained at 8:20. :-)

So everything is in now and I threw away all my bulb catalogs on Saturday. I'm not ordering one more darn flower!