Planting Bulbs Safely

Column for Sept-Oct

In the predicted downpour of so many centimetres of rain today, I finished a transition of mind. Just a little colour change and a header or two, but, I must express something of the changing of  the season.

Call it my own tradition, my sense of faith or that wonder one feels over the circadian rhythms- I don't care what people think. I like the cusps of time and changing.

When life has died down to a still and brilliant northern world of white, the ecstacy of finding that first snowdrop, which will poke its way through tough snow in mid-February in this Canadian climate, or the hints of crimson emerging upon one fall tree after another- these days of real weather always evoke action, creativity, and also those real feelings of belonging to a conscious universal flow.

Two weeks ago, I spent a humble amount of money on two bags of bulbs, to place carefully into the front bed for the Spring. My Grape Hyacynths of this year had been so lovely, even if the local squirrels had dug up and eaten a third of them in October of 2004.

So, I found an excellent deal ($3.00 for a bag of 16) in purchasing large blooming purple onions, and in planting a dozen white crocuses.

The little crocus sativa were also only $3.00 for all of those flowers.I decided to heed the experimental concepts of my favourite gardener, Gayla, and to contain my bulbs so that they were impassable to the bean-head pirates who have eaten every single miniature zucchini this year. Every day, a little two-inch Zucchini would pop froma fallen orange flower, and every time my back was turned, the dang varmints munched on each in turn, (and, I am sure)they squeaked with satisfaction over their find of miniature, squirrel-sized Zucchinis, claiming that "life is free".

Anyway, I have been refreshing my gardening sensibilities by reading Gaylas' first book, which is called "You Grow Girl" -(also the name of her gardening webzine, or journal.)

Gayla illustrated all kinds of ideas which might keep pests away from ones' tenderlings. I thought about it, and used the egg-crate idea, a way to plant bulbs contained to keep them safe.

But, I buy Omega Eggs (those from hens fed flax seed, which contain linolenic acid).

The package is like a celluloid, clear pack, with three leaves, so that the eggs are protected not only by two egg-dented crates, but by a lid, as well.

Anyway, I cut off the lid and folded over my egg crate. Then I cut tiny holes in the top of the egg units. I was able to make a circle of twelve croci into the centre of the crate, and then fill this with magic soil (it has fertilizer).

Then, I flipped the whole thing, using a paper to hold the earth and bulbs in place, over into a two inch trough that I had dug for them. Perfect. I tamped and watered over them, and they have not been disturbed in a week!

Then, I got really creative, with 16 onions to plant. These grow cut flowers with five inch deep-red flowers and over two-foot stems each, so they have to be planted four to six inches apart.

I took a medium sized pizza cardboard box (oo cares if there is a little oil and tomato in it?) and cut 16 tiny holes, very roughly, in the opened two sides of the box..

Then I taped down the tiny white bulbs, making sure to cut a little hole for the root to grab into the magic soil that I had sprinkled into my four inch deep by three foot wide trough.

I think it has worked- the planting has called in all this rain, just to make sure the little beauties sprout.
The squirrels do not know. (At least, I hope)

No Frost

To date, Sept.26th, there has been no frost, and it is nice and warm in the midst of all this rain. I am not unhappy or apprehensive about the cold front and predicted snow for tomorrow, or tonight.

Instead, I am as if these nourished bulbs, making a fresh start at life. Pretty soon, I will feel safe and snugged up in my pretty place, though winds may howl and grip at fingertips, to tug ones' superstitions and inhibitions into dark and biting places.

Now I may take those scented, sun-drenched, golden walks in forests and on sandy country paths, to cherish the fullness and fruition of my country, Canada.

I have permission to decorate the porch, place brilliant pumpkins here and there, and to overspend on yet another huge chrysanthemum.

The cones that I have washed are ready to decorate and tie up with love; prepared to give to the dearest friends during the darkest hours of the year.

My garden is already gorgeous with millions of pink chrysanthemums and deep purple asters, the end-of year Impatiens, and tall blooming Obedience plant.

I love this part of the year, so colourful and happy, and also so practical. Cool enough to get ones work done, warm enough for romance and travel.

Yesterday, my tears overflowed with sympathy for so many people, unsettled bys torm and flooding down in the South of the US. Today, I let politics and pain fly away and wash down with the rain.


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