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Friday, November 6, 2009

Fall: The season of Hope

I have to admit that when fall comes I feel a little saddened. While I love the fall colors, I am apprehensive about the cold, dark days of winter. I didn't always feel that way, but I think that my 20 years in Connecticut which had few bright winter days (Connecticut got substantially more precipitation than southwest/south central Ohio) sort of influenced me to dread the darkness. In addition, we lived in a house built in 1941 which could have stood better insulation and I'm married to a polar bear who thinks that 65 degrees is warm enough for the daytime.

Here we have bright, sunny days in the winter. That's do-able. But I don't like being cold. I wear long-johns and silk or wool camisoles in the house to stay warm and I'm always layering clothing and wearing blazers or decorative jackets inside.

Every fall is a flurry of activity for me. I'm cutting back stuff in the garden and planting. I suppose most non-gardeners are dumbfounded at fall planting, but that's when I put in spring bulbs, some summer bulbs, trees and shrubs. I'm also often seduced by the discounted rates at nurseries and garden centers trying to get rid of their stock before winter.

Each year I swear I won't go absolutely nuts and order too many bulbs. Each year, I fail. I have purchased bulbs from a lot of different places, but I have found John Scheepers in Bantam, Connecticut (and Van England their wholesale end) to be the best that I have ever used. Their prices are good, the size of the bulbs excellent and their customer service is wonderful.

I always order daffodils. When we lived in Meriden, Connecticut, I was accused of trying to compete with the city's Daffodil festival. I admit, I love them. They are cheery and come at a time when I am longing for bloom in my garden. In many cases, they are also fragrant. As a bonus, they multiply and deer and other critters don't eat them. This year, I am planting 200 that I purchased in addition to the ones I dug up in re-planting my shade garden which is now a sun garden.

I usually plant daffodils around hosta and daylilies as well as other perennials which will droop over the dying daffodil foliage. I don't tie them up or cut them off as letting them die back naturally will preserve the strength of the plant and ensure me good blooms for the next year.

Also, I am a fan of two tulips, Hit Parade and Big Chief. Since I had only about 50 that I had planted in 2005 when we moved here and they were petering out as tulips tend to, especially in my heavy clay soil, I ordered 100. I also ordered 50 Apricot impressions....Then, I ran into a 70% off bulb sale and bought an additional 50 mixed tulips.

And don't forget the small bulbs. Since my sister loves Camas lillies, I ordered two types of them to see what they were like. I also purchased a total of 40 crocus--mostly snow crocus but also some orange Dutch crocus. I also purchased 400 grape hyacinths. Since they throw foliage in the fall to provide for spring's flowers I use them to mark where I have daffodils, tulips and my other bulbs.

Oh yes....and the allium. I purchased 20 more globemaster and gladiator...those big purple flower heads and the starlike seed heads are a must have in my book.

And I am, late in getting started planting them because of my fractured pelvis. I'm getting it done...slowly...and I snarl at myself for being too much of the cockeyed optimist--optimistic that I can get them in before my hands drop off because of the cold...and optimistic that I'll be here next spring to enjoy them....and next fall to start the process all over again.


Anonymous said...

Would love to see some photos when they bloom. I too love all Spring flowers, and have planted 1000's on my three acres over the last 4 years, but there is always room for more! My Spring is almost over, but the roses are yet to bloom, and then we well head towards the dreadful fire season and hot, dry summer days that I do not enjoy.
Sue McB

Vivien said...

Can't wait to see the results of all this back-breaking work. I hope you find joy in it now since it's a long time until spring!

I love daffodils we well; there one of the few flowers the deer don't munch. Next year I'm going to have to pay better attention since I always seem to realize too late that it's time to order and plant. I really do have to get on the ball since I love cut flowers on the table.

Hope your hip is feeling better and that the cold / damp doesn't make it ache too much.