Bulb crazy

I’m afraid I’ve overdone it. Again.

Come fall, a gardener’s thoughts turn to the planting of spring-blooming bulbs, which have to be planted NOW. Last year I waited too long to purchase my bulbs in the mistaken belief that I could get them on clearance if I waited until retailers deemed the season for planting to be over. Not only did I not get any bargains, I had a drastically reduced selection from which to choose. Even then I bought more than I was able to plant, for we ended up having a very wet fall and early winter: my soil is heavy clay and impossible to work while wet. Half of them ended up in the compost this spring, having rotted in their bags in my garage.

A week of clear, dry, autumn weather got me thinking about fall planting and the beautiful mature gardens I left behind when I moved to the Bluegrass. One tulip in particular was my very favorite, a double late tulip called ‘Uncle Tom’ — a deep, rich maroon flower so petaliferous that it looks a peony or an overblown rose. I fired off a wistful email request to my mother-in-law for her to visit my favorite garden center in all the world (Natureworks in Northford CT) and get some bulbs for me.

Wondering if ‘Uncle Tom’ is still available, I went online to see if I could find it. Before I realized what I was about, I had placed an order for 50 bulbs! (I must say I showed remarkable restraint, however, getting the smallest possible quantities of only two narcissi, two tulips, and two alliums, none of which are available in stores around here.)

A couple days later, my dear mother-in-law let me know that she’s bringing me a box of bulbs at the end of the month as requested. In my excitement over finding ‘Uncle Tom’ I had completely forgotten about the email I had sent her!

So now I face the daunting prospect of getting 100+ bulbs in the ground before spring. Luckily, the soil doesn’t usually freeze around here until January or February, so I have a little time.

I just hope we don’t have a lot of rain.


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