Monday, December 12, 2005

Spring Bulb Medley

Until buying this home a year and a half ago, I never was into any kind of gardening whatsoever. I did not know the terms, I did not plant anything, and frankly I wouldn't have known how to begin if I had wanted to grow things from the dirt.

So fast forward to fall and suddenly having spring flowers bursting forth into an artist's palette of colors seemed like a great idea. The thing that surprised me when I started to do a little research, having never been a gardener, was that to have tulips and daffodils bursting forth from anywhere, I would need to plant the bulbs in the fall before the ground became frozen.

Around the same time I found this out, stores started displaying spring bulbs and I found myself wondering why I had never seen them displayed in the fall before. I assume I just never paid attention. I decided that I wanted to line the side of the driveway with spring flowers of all different varieties and colors and blooming times.

I knew I could buy bulbs in the stores, even in the grocery store, but I'm not really one to be "typical" and thus I hope my decorating and home decor ideas aren't boring, so I started to look around online. I was surprised at the number of places that offered bulbs of all kinds, especially those with which I was not familiar. It was exciting seeing what kind of exotic and gorgeous flowers are grown from bulbs!

I ordered quite a few catalogs in early fall and hoped they would arrive soon and they did. Some came with discount coupons for new customers and all came with page after page of bulbs. Too many to choose from, actually, but I did my best and put some orders in. I bought some packs of "normal" bulbs to throw into the mix, too, so I will have daffodils and tulips and more of the customary spring flowers as well as the splashes of the unusual.

I prepared a "pathway" beside the driveway for planting and bought some mulch for it. When the time came, I sat down to plan the layout. I am a writer and not an artist, but I hoped that there would be enough creativity to plan a decent looking row of spring flowers.

Well, you know what they say about the best laid plans! The brainstorm hit rather early, before I had done any planning at all. Why not just put all the bulbs into a bucket and do a hodgepodge, a mix and match design? Then the exotic would be coming up next to the "plain" daffodils and the colors would be mixed into each other, not unlike what I imagine a tulip field in Holland to be like.

So that is what I did, and the bulbs were planted without knowing what was going where. Spring will be fun! Maybe "real" gardeners know reasons why this was not a good idea if it actually wasn't, I don't know, but if that's the case, I'm sure I will have to learn the hard way. But in the meantime I'm anxiously waiting to see what my driveway "garden walkway" will look like.

Two things to look for if you find that you want to try this method is to buy bulbs that will produce close to the same height in the flowers so some won't be dwarfed, and decide when you want them to bloom. Also when ordering from a catalog, be sure that the bulbs you are buying are zoned for your area of the country.