My Thanksgiving weekend dilemma

Planting these was a daunting task
Planting this big bag of bulbs was a daunting task

I bought more daffodil bulbs.

Yes, I know we have hundreds (likely 1,000+, since they keep naturalizing) already in the yard. Yes, I know I didn’t need more.

I tried to resist. I resisted the offer of two bags of 50 mixed bulbs for $12 at an area garden center. I resisted an email fall clearance offer, though after some internal debate. I resisted when a friend emailed about it, suggesting we go in on an order. Everything 35% off! But when he repeated the offer and said he was ordering the next day, I took another look. Not just at those listed in the email but all the daffodils on the website. And when I saw the mixed assortment of “double” daffodils — fragrant, frilly, showy — well, I caved.

Irrresistable, right?
Irresistable, right?

The smallest pack was 50 bulbs. But I’d already fallen off the wagon, so why show restraint now? I figured I’d get 100 and worry about where to plant them later.

Fortunately, my friend missed that part of my request and only ordered 50 for me.

I picked up the bulbs on Thanksgiving morning and just stared at the size of that bag. What had I done? Where would they all go? I didn’t know where the other bulbs were, just that they were all over the flower beds. And I’d moved some in the spring from a back bed that hasn’t worked out. At least then I could see where I could squeeze them in. But after all that, did I have any space left?

Just some of the daffodil bulbs I dug up and found new homes for in the spring.
Just some of the daffodil bulbs I dug up and found new homes for in the spring.

No time like the present to do a bit more “editing” of the beds .. thin out some, move some others. And yes, try to find room for daffodil bulbs.

I had some early success, but then it got hard. I’d dig — and slice through some bulbs. (I hope¬†they can heal.) Time to be more careful. I would find a spot — and tuck in one, maybe two bulbs. This was slow-going. I eventually got about 30 in the ground and had no idea where to put the last 20. I really didn’t want to create a fresh bed, and I didn’t want to put them in a section of the front beds where I’d rarely see them. Could I put them in one of the raised vegetable beds for the winter and transplant them in May or June, when I could see the gaps? That might mess up the spring peas, or the tomatoes or …

But maybe somewhere else where they could later be moved? I settled on a spot in front of our garden bench, visible from the kitchen window. It nicely connected a flower bed and a lemongrass plant that just expanded and expanded over the summer (and now is indoors) on one end and that weigela we’d planted in the spring on the other. (Yes, the bench will likely get squeezed out as the shrub grows.). Plus it was an excuse to clear out some mock strawberry (a pointless effort, I know, but it made me feel good). The bulbs will stretch along the length of the bench and beyond, look pretty in the spring and yet be easy to transplant.

Done!

When I’m tempted again next year, I should read this again and just keep saying no. Unless, of course, I’ve created a new bed in anticipation.

Yard Play

I have never claimed to be an organized gardener, armed with a firm design and a definitive list of plants to buy. Even my vegetable beds, which come closest to having a plan, always end up … different.
So after two plant sales in two weekends (and the Mercer County Master Gardeners’ sale is not to be missed!), I knew it would make sense to take two days off work and play in the yard–weed, move things around and plant. We bought 15 plants at the Mercer County sale and a few others (mostly vegetables .. that’s easier!) at Rutgers Day. Yeah, we had a list, but we didn’t exactly have homes for just about any of them.
We did score some that were on my most-wanted list, including two Jack in the Pulpits and a pot of Virginia bluebells. I planted both in a shady spot near the house — and near the faucet, figuring they are more likely to stay damp all summer that way. I hope they spread!
We loved our blanket flower last year and bought two varieties, putting them in two spots. (I know, not a drift! But they’ll expand.). Picked up a red version of a black-eyed Susan that was in the annual section at Rutgers Day but which my Bluestone catalogue lists as a perennial. Hope it at least self-seeds!
The “swamp aster” is our $1 gamble on trying to find an aster the deer won’t eat. I guess it needs to stay wet … maybe near a downspout?
I spent 50 cents on a pot of a pink/purple ornamental grass that I am sure will spread. But I really warmed to grasses last year. But I’m still not sure where this will go.
The master gardeners were selling lemongrass, so I bought a small pot that looks a lot healthier than the one I have been trying to grow indoors. They advised burying it in a bigger pot so it will be easier to bring inside come winter. I”m hoping it will fill it!
What else? David Phlox, another phlox, lemon basil, a rosa eggplant, brussel sprouts, a free Ramapo tomato, lavender, Rosemary Arp (winter-hardy in zone 6!) and then some leek seedlings and cherry peppers from a produce shop. We didn’t find everything on the list; I’d have liked more sneezeweed. But last year’s plant has grown and I’m sure I’ll eventually find it again.
Here’s what’s in bloom:

First irises (10 at once!) of 2010 on May 2
Last daffodils of 2010
Azalea that escaped the deer