There is something about fall that makes me fall for gardening all over again.
Some of my best gardening memories are from when I was a kid hanging out in the garden in the fall. Admittedly most of that time was spent raking leaves and hauling them back to the vegetable garden, which wasn’t all that much fun, but I loved the whole process of getting the garden ready for winter.
I loved helping my dad pick out tulip bulbs and then planting them here and there. He didn’t buy quite as many—not near as many—bulbs as I do now, but he bought quite a few.
It was torturous at times planting those bulbs because he put limestone rock around all the shrubs. Everyone did back then.
As I recall, we had to dig through a six-inch layer of those rocks to get to the soil, and then dig another three or four inches down to plant the bulbs. Which we did after sprinkling some bone meal in the bottom of the holes. It is a wonder those flowers all came up, but they did.
Times have changed, of course. We know now that you don’t need to fertilize bulbs with bone meal or anything else when you plant them. They have all they need in their little bulb-selves to make a good show in the spring. You just need to plant them! Which apparently is a challenge for some gardeners who are still staring at their bulbs in January wondering if it is too late, but that’s not a problem here.
I’ve planted all my bulbs. All 2,100 of them.
But don’t get too excited by that number. Just 200 were tulips. The rest were small crocuses, glory of the snow and star flowers which are all small corms/bulbs that don’t take much digging to plant.
I love cleaning up the garden, too, though these days the advice is to leave the perennials and other flowers standing because they are full of overwintering insects and spiders, most of which are good for the garden.
Oops. To plant my tulip bulbs in a more or less random fashion, I cut back my perennials in both the August Dreams Garden border and Plopper’s Field. That’s because I literally tossed 100 tulip bulbs in each border and then planted them wherever they landed. I did the same with 100 crocuses in each border.
(Why did I do that? Read Colour Your Garden: Exciting Mixtures of Bulbs and Perennials by Jacqueline van der Kloet for the answer.)
If I had left everything standing in those borders, I wouldn’t have found all the bulbs to plant them.
Thank you for your understanding.
Now I have two big piles of plant debris to chip up and toss on the compost pile. I love doing that, too. And then there are leaves to mulch up with the mower and toss on the vegetable beds. Just like when I was a kid. I love doing that.
Those leaves will keep the weeds down so in the spring, I can be out at the first sign of warmth, raking those decaying leaves aside, sowing peas, and checking for all the blooms from all the bulbs I planted this fall. Just like when I was a kid.