Doing the Work

photoPrincess Irene tulips are vying with deep purple Dutch hyacinths for the role of most eye grabbing sight in the garden right now.  Hard to say who’s winning!

Here’s what I did last fall to get this spring display.                                                  photo           Normally I prefer flowing groupings of bulbs, but because the bed is long and rectangular, I went with that.  Next time, I’ll try a flattened oval in this same spot, but otherwise I’m happy with the results.

Here’s a closer view of the spacing I used. I could have spaced them an inch further apart and still gotten the same dense effect. (I replant tulips every year, so I ignore the suggested spacing directions.) Digging the hole is work, of course, but placing the bulbs in the bed is surprisingly satisfying and fun.                                                     photoIt’s kind of like picking new annuals for your front step flowerpots every year.  Only the hole you need to create is a lot bigger!

Not everyone lives where tulips are possible, of course. But everyone can prepare for the new season by examining what worked and what didn’t work last year. A garden journal, whether online or on paper, is a great way to keep track of the details. And committing to trying something new, however small, in the garden is a vital act of faith and hope.

One of the things I love most about gardening is the way it connects you to the seasons, to the earth, and to yourself.

Like having children, gardening bonds you to the future. Once you stick your shovel in the dirt, you’re staking a claim that says you’re not just passing through this life but are willing to make it better by creating beauty.

So what are you waiting for?  Go get those fingers dirty.


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