Devils Workshop

has been moved to new address

Sorry for inconvenience...

E-Garden Almanac: Fall Dirt Digging

E-Garden Almanac

The E-Garden Almanac is the push-button, real human journal of Kelly D. Norris. All errors, grammatic grievances, and opinions are that of the author. Kelly is a freelance writer and Master Gardener from southwest Iowa. His passion and obsession with horticulture, plants, and gardening embodies nearly every function of his life. The E-Garden Almanac serves as the web extension of his columns, articles, and lectures.
Learn more here!

My Photo
Location: Iowa

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fall Dirt Digging

It's no secret that I'm in love with fall. Colorful leaves, migrating birds, cool temperatures, colchicums, reblooming irises and a host of other self absorbing minutiae consume me in the autumn of each year. Among these, and not a minutia, is the annual ritual of planting bulbs, otherwise known as my shameless attribution to Dutch ancestry I don't have.

Daffodils, tulips, crocus, fritillarias, colchicums, corydalis, calochortus, and lilies are but a few of my geophytic favorites that fill my shopping carts and shipments each year. I love planting daffodils because I get to dig big holes. Simple, childish, and a killer cardio exercise, my spade effortlessly slips through the soft ground. I'm able to round out a suitable planting hole; style and aesthetics of the process or its outcome are quite irrelevant. The plump, double-nosed bulbs from Brent & Becky's Bulbs get eagerly plopped into the crater I just carved in my perennial border. Laying on my stomach I arrange the bulbs with care, knowing that the resultant image starts with this humble task. Dirt under my nails, I couldn't be happier.

My digging escapades consumed the better part of today. I'll confess: my garden is hopelessly spring-biased and a far cry from the four season pomp I hope to create. If I were Vita Sackville-West my Bedford garden might be my Sevenoaks. I can only hope my Sissinghurst is yet to come. But despite this I've come to acknowledge another key element of gardening in four seasons.

Each season has its emblem plants, those valuable must-haves that augment the floral display we come to expect in any given month. For May it's irises (in my garden, at least). For July it's oriental lilies. For September it's colchicums (get some if you don't have any). I'd be foolish to think I could limit each month to one must have, but you get the idea. So while a sustainable, four season concept floats around your mind, as it does mine now, its important to not forget the plants who contribute to the beauty and feeling during those four seasons, though they themselves won't last for more than a moment in that span of time.

I'm reminded of these thoughts planting my favorite ephemeral bulbs today. Corydalis, a genus with whom I'm having a lusty affair, is a figment of the memory in the garden year in review but a headliner in its season. Its choruses of delectable flowers sing praise worthy of note in mid-spring. But always a season ahead, the performances of tomorrow are rehearsed today. And like a rehearsal, the ritual of planting bulbs, a grand excuse to play in the dirt, was again practiced in my Iowa garden today.


Post a Comment

<< Home