Friday, October 26, 2007

They're here!! Bulb-mania is in full swing at Millertime! First are the local impulse-buys from Menard's...well it was a sale! These are just some add-ons for groupings I'd already "color-mapped".

Now for a look at the mail-ordered with the locals, all in one place....I know, what the hell was I thinking, anyway?!Size comparison of tulip bulbs: upper left is VanBourgondien, upper right is Menard's (link is for Chuck's benefit ;-), lower right is Dutch Gardens, and lower left is Breck's...all look pretty much the same condition-wise, and VanBourgondien's is slightly larger. (My John Scheeper's order was muscari and snow glories). Of course the trusty dibble is for the small stuff......but for the big bulbs, you need one of these! This is a "step-on" bulb planter, and it makes the hole in one motion. (Ideally, but if you have a lot of rocks as I do, often you only get a "dig here" circle-still helps for planning.) Be sure it's made well, cuz' I bought one a couple years ago, and it broke quickly. Key point is a heavy-duty handle that's welded like this, and not crimped/flattened at the bottom, which makes it weak.
Got some "organic bulb fertilizer" with my Scheepers bulbs, but I'm not using it for all of them. I want to do a little expirimenting to see what kind of planting-time amendment works best. Okay, now this part tweaked me out just a little...see, I usually map out my bulb plantings on paper, but I don't ID them with metal markers like I do my perennials. This first area is the largest planting, a purple-mix area that I'm calling "purple haze", it will house 165 tulips and 35 muscari. I had all the circles drawn out, and decided on codes to represent each color, then I thought-"This is too time-consuming dummy, just make it random." But it bothered me, and I paced around awhile trying to decide. Then I just emptied all of the tulips in this bag so I could draw at random while planting. I still felt uncomfortable about it....
....but digging the 165 tulip holes brought me around! I figured I'd just dibble muscari holes as I went.
So here's the first amendment trial: dig hole to 8", put in a pinch of horse manure, a pinch of sand, bulb, more sand, more manure, top with sand and firm in. (I say "sand" because that's what my soil is.) Sleep tight, buddy!

As you can see, I didn't get done with this until after dark. I sprayed the area down with "Liquid Fence" varmint repellent, cuz' I saw that pine squirrel eyeing my activities. (Plus several more creatures like to dig these up.) I didn't water them in, as the soil was moist, and rain is in the forecast.
Okay, time to rest the muscles and plant some more! Yeeehaaa!


verobirdie said...

yeah, that must be addiction! But we will all envy you when they flower ! :-)

Blackswamp_Girl said...

165 tulip bulbs? Sheesh... that makes the work of turning over sod in my new front yard garden look like a breeze.

I can't wait to see these flower. :)

Entangled said...

Somewhere I read that Piet Oudolf instructs people to fling the bulbs in the air and plant them where they land. It sounds naturalistic and intuitive, but I can't make myself do it that way.

Purple Haze is going to be so pretty in the spring.

Carol said...

I've used that method of dumping all my tulips in a bag to randomize them. It does make it more interesting in the spring.

Looking forward to seeing pictures of your garden when all those tulips are blooming!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Vanillalotus said...

Wow that's a lot of bulbs. I wish the best growth for them. Can't wait to see these all pop out. Some times it is better to just be random and be surprised at what combinations get next to each other. Mother nature is random and she does a beautiful job.

lisa said...

Verobirdie-Yea, I'm gladly addicted/afflicted!

Kim-The work was well worth it (I hope!)

Entangled-Yea, it was hard to be random, but that was practical in this situation because of the number of bulbs. My other combos will be mapped out for sure.

Carol-Thank you! I really can't wait! Although many people treat bulbs as annuals, they are very long-lived for me here. I have some yellow tulips that have been blooming reliably for 8 years.

Vanillalotus-Thank you for the well-wishes...good karma for my slumbering friends. Very good point about Mother Nature's randomness...she really DOES do a great job. Lack of control can be the best part of a situation many times, it's just hard to let go.

guild_rez said...

I am sure you can't wait for spring:-))
What about squirrels, I know they love tulip bulbs..Do you have any problems??
I use chicken wire to cover my newly planted bulbs and hope for the best.
cheers from Canada

lisa said...

Guild_rez-Yea, I have squirrels dig bulbs up once in awhile. That's why I sprayed the repellent, and I hope that by the time it wears off, they will have "forgotten" about them and/or I'll have snowcover. Seems like once the bulb is established, they leave it alone. Chicken wire sounds like a good, low-cost solution though...that could work for me, since I don't seem to have a mole or vole problem, so the digging is usually from the surface only-thanks!

Ki said...

Whooeee, my back aches just thinking about planting all those suckers. Looks like you had mini bomb craters in your yard. Your spring will be fabulous! Can't wait to see it.

lisa said...

Ki-I'm excited, too! I must say, the sight of all those holes before I got started freaked me out a little bit.

EAL said...

I will have to take a picture of mine now! Do those step-on planters work for you?

I find it's such a pain to remove the plug of dirt that gets stuck in it, I just stick a spade in, jerk it about and drop the bulbs in.

Of course for a bunch together (which I do as I use many as annuals and thus don't care about spacing) I just dig a wide hole and drop them all in.

Your planning is most impressive!

lisa said...

Eal-The step-on planter works very well for me unless I hit a rock, but I still have a divot to show where to plant. Then I tip it upside down and pop the plug out, usually in a container so I can shake off the dirt from the sod. Spade and jerk sounds way easier, but I don't know if I can help but fuss more. Maybe the sheer numbers this year will change my mind. The planning is part of the fun for me.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Woohoo Lisa, go girl go! That's the way to plant bulbs, by the wheel barrow load! I hereby officially declare you an honorary Dutch garden blogger!

BTW The garden fashion over here is to plant all your tulip bulbs together in drifts and mix all colours together too so that you get a sort of natural effect. Just like wild flower meadows.

lisa said...

Thanks Yolanda! I will wear my honorary Dutch distinction with pride! I am mixing some color schemes (purple/white, red/white, etc.), but I feel funny about mixing them ALL...dunno why. It should still look pretty cool, the smallest combo is 39 bulbs (20 tulips, 15 snowdrops, and 4 daffodils).