Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Buried Treasure

Ah, spring.  Hyacinth and tulips dapple the garden and daffodils nod from a sheltered nook.  We sigh over crocus and are thankful that some sign of life appears after another brutal Chicago winter. 

However, for this magic to happen, we plant the little darlings now.  I will confess to having a rather free-for-all approach to bulb planting.  I do take precautions for tulips, as I have an active and growing chipmunk population turning the front raised bed into luxury chippie condos.  I like to coat my tulips in bulb dust by putting a couple of tablespoons or so in a paper lunch bag, dropping in the bulbs, and shaking to coat evenly.  Bulb dust has nasty garlic, chili pepper, and other icky tasting stuff in it. 

I have patches where I have planted in sequence with a color scheme in mind, but only a couple.  I tend to dot in daffodils where I know perennials will fill in and cover their foliage as it wanes.  I did create a river of grape hyacinth (Muscari sp.) that is holding its own for the most part.  But, I like surprises in spring.  Quite frankly, I have no idea where all my bulbs are planted and I like it that way.

This year, I will start the scilla (Scilla siberica) project.  In the historic district of my town, a handful of homes have scilla lawns.  What is a scilla lawn?  Imagine a carpet of tiny blue flowers flowing through the lawn into beds and around trees.  Since scilla blooms before you're ready to cut the grass, you have a stunning sea of color with minimal fuss.  That is, after you plant the cursed things.  I am starting with fifty and will add more each year.  Are they planted yet?  Heck, no.  Hey!  The ground isn't frozen yet.  I've got time. 

For a little taste of spring, here are a few crocus and one of my Katherine Hodgkin bulb iris.  I promise to post the scilla as they progress.

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