Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tulip, or not tulip...

I planted the rest of the tulips today.  I'd started them on Sunday, but for various reasons--a sad call from a friend who'd just lost a friend, and heartbreak and football, and also having to re-think my entire planting scheme--I didn't get them all done before sundown.  I'd planned to finish them up on Tuesday, but for various reasons--mainly a really dull meeting that I probably should have just walked out of--it was practically dark by the time I was ready to get started, and I didn't feel I'd do a great job of planting by headlamp.  Anyway, I left work early today to finish the job, and they're all now tucked away for the winter, waiting to warm my mind and open my heart next spring...assuming they survive (and I will. assume, that is.  and survive, of course.).

There were, all told, forty-two tulips of six different varieties in various hues of purple, orange and yellow, along with sixteen graceful allium, though one of the latter had rotted to dust.  (Not exactly a spectacular number, but those babies aren't cheap, even when they're on end-of-season sale.)  I'd originally planned on putting them all out on the boulevard, among the native plants between the walk and the street, but decided instead to place them where I would more often see them: a small cluster near the front doorstep, and the rest out back where I might enjoy them on the walk out to the garage on a workday, or while sipping tea at the kitchen table over breakfast.  I think they'll look quite fine, standing behind the bright green shoots of garlic in the spring, and resting among bachelors buttons and poppies in the summer.

During my last-ditch searches for inspiration/insight about where exactly to plant them, and with what else, considering THE FUTURE (as if any of my long-term garden plans really mattered at that point, when I had all of forty minutes to get 'er done and get ready before I had to leave), I dug up several good suggestions for companion plants, one of which happened to be followed by the line "NEVER under estimate the power of a RED HEAD" (smiley face dancing)... which oddly enough was kind of just what I needed to be reminded today.  Why was I looking for someone else's advice on something I already know how to do?  So what if I have to dig them all up and start over again next year, not that it wouldn't be a whole lot nicer to build upon work I've already done.  Who cares if they're not part of the master plan, if there ever was (or will be) one.  Everything is temporary, and also, I have a knack for this sort of thing, so what's the worry?  Wherever they end up going, they will--no doubt--be amazing and beautiful, as long as they are alive.

It felt good to kneel, to feel my body sink into the soft ground, to pull out the still-tender calendula and shake the loose damp soil from its roots, to plunge a trowel into the dirt without meeting any resistance, to firmly press a bulb into the bottom of each hole, to pat the earth down and cover it with leaves... it's funny how something as simple as the texture of the soil can make you feel, sometimes.  There are days when it's a real challenge.  Today it was more like a favorite quilt.  Is that why they're called beds?  But I digress... 

And, speaking of amazing and beautiful, this evening I was absent-mindedly gazing at leftover images of tulips while talking with a friend on the phone, when one particularly lovely combination of yellow and pink caught my eye... I clicked through, but instead of the field of froofy flowers I had expected to find, I was met by these rather arresting images of skinless women.  Which in a way goes to show that you just never know what'll turn up in your garden. You just have to take a chance and dig in.

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