It’s a double-edged sword, a blessing and a curse, and for me, another excuse to procrastinate. I don’t know how or when it happened, but November has been added to “gardening season.” Tacked on at the end as it is, the penultimate month has become a time to plant bulbs. It also happens to be a great time for bargains. Bulbs are less expensive this time of year. Yes, they’re picked over and the most coveted bulbs are sold out, but if you just need a couple hundred Puschkinia for instance, November is the month to place orders.
|Puschkinia bloom early to mid-April, just as Fritillaria|
are beginning to perk up.
My fall-planted bulb purchases have come full circle—beginning with an optimistic naïveté in my early gardening years—and returning with a vengeance as my heat tolerance wanes. My first “bulb garden” consisted of three dozen tulips, 24 daffodils and 100 Muscari. If I hadn’t yanked it out after the first year, it would consist of daffodil leaves and a solid clump of Muscari. It taught me that some bulbs were less generous about increasing than were others.
The next year, going for a naturalistic look, I planted a row of tulip bulbs near a rustic fence at the back of our yard. When the early spring came with a foot of rain, my bulbs came floating up toward the house looking for rescue. I learned bubs’ need for good drainage.
I finally got it right the third year, planting four five-bulb clumps of ‘Apricot Beauty’ with some Muscari at their feet. It was also the year that rabbits discovered our yard. I’d no sooner noticed how cleverly the rabbit avoided our Cairn terrier, Piper than it was time for the tulips to bloom. I learned two things that year: how to time bulb companions, and that there is nothing cute about rabbits.
I've thrown caution to the wind this year and ordered a bunch of tulip bulbs. Only two varieties are left to plant along with Muscari botryoides ‘Superstar’. Tulip ‘Exotic Emperor’ (mid-April, 20”) and Tulip ‘Montreaux’ (mid-April, 20”) will go in my favorite evening spot.
|Tulip 'Montreux' blooms in my garden mid-April. I'd |
forgotten I already had it, so I'll be planting 20 more.
I’ve discovered how pleasant it is to sit in my favorite sunroom chair and watch the light fade. What makes it the most enjoyable is the placement of white or pale-colored flowers within viewing range. I’ve watched Phlox ‘David’s Lavender’, Lilium ‘White Tycoon’, Lilac 'Beauty of Moscow' and Oso Easy ‘Honey Bun’ rose increase their glow as the sun goes down. Next year this feature will begin in April.