Oh, I ache. My back aches. My thighs ache. Even my fingers ache. Even so, I have an undeniable feeling of accomplishment, having planted approximately 370 bulbs in our garden this weekend. Just 30 to go.
Rather than solid blocks of single bulbs, I mixed together an equal number of Tulips and Daffodils in a bucket. The hope is that a 1:1 ratio will protect the Tulips from rabbits by mixing them with the toxic daffodils.
One of the mixes included 2 early Tulips (‘Couleur Cardinal’ and ‘Princess Irene’) with one later-blooming Lily Tulip (‘Ballerina’). These are combined with ‘Hawera’ Daffodils, which should bloom with the early Tulips. (Incidentally, you can see above that I replaced the pavers that make the Driveway Border a raised bed and filled in with topsoil.)
The second mix consisted of 2 mid-season Tulips (‘Helmar’ and ‘Parade’) and the Daffodils ‘Sailboat’ and ‘Pheasant’s Eye’. The overall color scheme is orange-red for the Tulips and yellow-white for the Daffodils.
I scattered handfuls of bulbs to give it a more random, natural look. Luckily, the soil was soft and moist – I’ve had years where it felt like digging in concrete.
One thing about the random scattering of a mix of bulbs is that with different size bulbs in the same bucket, I noticed a tendency to grab handfuls of the smaller Daffodils first. So I sometimes cheated by changing out some of the bulbs after tossing. I would also nudge bulbs further apart here and there. I refer to this approach as “enhanced randomness”.
I started planting on Saturday, and sure enough on Sunday morning there were little squirrel excavations. I think only a couple of Tulips were lost.
The squirrels seemed to really appreciate the soft, fresh topsoil. So before the end of the day I covered a large area with short lengths of metal edging, which I seem to have about a million of. Then I weighed them down with bricks. Take that, squirrels!
In some spots I used chicken wire to deter the squirrels. I should be able to remove all the anti-rodent defenses once the soil freezes.
Today is Columbus Day, or Indigenous Peoples’ Day if you prefer, and I’m lucky enough to have the day off. So I can figure out where to put those last 30 bulbs and also apply ice packs as needed.
You might think that after today I will be completely done with bulb planting. Only thing is, I just ordered 100 Glory-of-the-Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) to plant on the other side of the new driveway. It seemed like the right thing to do. These are just little bulbs, shouldn’t take any time at all.