D is for daffodil

Daffodils are my favorite flower. The second poem I ever wrote was about daffodils (the first was called “Clouds, hurl your spears,” and doesn’t bear thinking about), and although it’s not something I’m going to share here, I still remember every word of it.

single daffodil

Cheery, isn't it?

I loved the flowers we had at our wedding, but I did have some moments of sadness because it was too late in the year to include daffodils.

Now my mantra when gardening is “You can never have too many daffodils,” and I plant beds full of hundreds of bulbs. I love this time of year, as they start to bloom in waves across the yard.

Happy spring!

Well, happier for some of us than others, I suppose. Woke up this morning to snow on the ground and wintry mix falling from the sky. Also, the toddler brought home a cold from daycare, so now both her brother and I are coughing, too.

On the plus side: spring bulbs, blooming!

purple croci

Spring has sprung!

fall planting Q & A

Okay, so this has nothing to do with writing. Or maybe it does, if you have characters who worry about their cottage gardens. Bear with me — the weather is cool, it’s been raining, and I got the first of my new fall plants put in this week.

My favorite things to plant in the fall are bulbs and bulb-like plants (corms, rhizomes, and so forth). Toss them into the ground at the appropriate depth, let the falling leaves and the snow cover them, and wait until they spring forth the following year — and the year after that, and the year after that, and so forth. My gardening motto is “You can never have too many daffodils.” I also love crocuses, tulips, and snowdrops. This year, I put in some hardy cyclamen, too, although I don’t expect to see them blooming until next fall.

Perennials also do well planted in the fall. They can establish their roots and overwinter, then start growing anew in the spring. If possible, I even look for plants on clearance; they may look horrible in their containers now, but odds are they’ll be lovely next year. Trees are the same way — fall is the best time to plant them, when they won’t be stressed by extreme heat and a possible lack of water as they get used to their new environs. (Of course, knowing this, nurseries never have trees for sale at low prices in the fall.)

I haven’t actually planted cool-season vegetables, such as broccoli, peas, and cabbage, but I might next year, if we get our raised beds in finally. (Big if. We’ve been talking about it for three years now, I think.)

What doesn’t do well in the fall: tender annuals that need heat to grow, bulbs that are not hardy (gladiolus, dahlia, canna), and long-season vegetables.

Okay, that’s a quick overview. Your turn now: Hit me with your questions — need to know details about planting something? how cold hardy a bulb is? what should be spring planted instead? Or tell me what you like to plant in your garden.