Gardening Glimpses

By MRS. HERMAN MCKENZIE,

Looking for a preparation-for-spring job that is just about right for these too-warm late October days with little rainfall, something that promises hints of spring without too much work, as the planting of the spring daffodil garden is going to be for Vicki and I.

The bulk of our daffodil bulbs will arrive, for sure and certain, by nightfall of October 24, and Becky Heath has the UPS guys so well trained that our orders say “take to back door if small boxes,” (the special “garden in a box” of oxalis, paper white narcissus, and amaryllis come this way, separately) or into the garage if it is the whole crate.

We made our orders, and filed them away (better start now looking for where we put them.) so we will be somewhat surprised to see what we gifted ourselves with generously,

And what “happy extras” were tucked in.

Other bulbs have already arrived, and we are picking up a “mystery” order from Mitch Carney at the fall board ADS meeting in Cincinnati in November. If I know Richard Ezell, he’ll have found a few cultivars he knows we would really like.

So now we face some busy weeks, moving and replanting some large clumps, and digging over some beds that seem rather empty but may surprise us.

Our system of labeling is weird, according to some folks.

There are all sorts of systems - mine is the upscale plastic party knives. Every year I think I have enough yellow ones from Party City; and then the last day or so, we have to make a run for it.

The Sharpie brand permanent markers seem to work rather well. I devised a system years ago of writing the name of the bulb down from one end on the front side, and the other end on the back. Then we bury the labels as far down as we can, since sunlight fades the writing, but wet soil does not.

 

We discovered two days ago we’d be facing an immediate planting job, as my indefatigueable friend Annette Parker Kahn is sending us our share of a stock of seedlings, mostly yellow-petalled with red centers, from Clay Higgins, in Virginia, who sent a whole assortment, with detailed lineage.

Hybridizers who have some acreage but not a whole lot (or whose knees and backs get too stiff to dig new ground) forget that one daffodil cross might produce 20 seeds, and soon each seed will produce a double-nosed bulb, and so on and on and on.

Annette is crazy over crinums (I hate to confess, and when she gets me on the phone, I don’t have a chance to say anything but I’m not sure I’d recognize a crinum if I saw it.)

But we’re going to.

At first she had big plans, but when I told her that Pete and Vicki’s lot was all shade (according to Annette, my own place is too shady), and we’d have to settle for here, and for the present, for pots lined along the center walk, as our fenced daffodil garden offers the only open space with morning sun and not too much afternoon shade.

So she will be mailing them (these little ones are much cheaper, and there will probably be a test, in the form of a phone call, about two days later, for a report on the planting.

Our goal is to have every daffodil bulb in the ground by November 8, when we leave for Cincinnati - leaving clearly marked space for those we expect to acquire along the way.

So you do understand why we are going to have to postpone those potted preparations of “other” bulbs for an early December chore, don’t you?

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