Monday, October 28, 2013

rain readiness

Today we are supposed to have new rain gutters installed. They will be red aluminum to go with our new roof, and will drain into our four rain barrels. I am not totally convinced that the job will be done on schedule. Steve and I were out of town last week, thus missing the contractor's confirming phone call on Friday.

Another reason for my skepticism is that a 50% chance of rain is predicted for today. Of course this means there's an equal chance it won't rain, but yesterday it really felt like rain, and so I took time to plant the Idaho daffodil bulbs I had dug up during the summer and stored on the front porch in a small paper shopping bag.

There were nine bulbs -- eleven after I separated two doubles -- and I planted them in a circular space as planned. The soil there, at the foot of our largest lavender 'tree,' was not very good. We're talking about the part of our front garden that had originally been a driveway and later a thick bed of ivy. I scraped away three inches of what passes for topsoil plus mulch, and then used a bulb planter to make the eleven holes: eight around the edge and three in the center. About an inch of a bulb-friendly potting soil went in each hole, then the bulb, and then a generous trowel full of the potting soil, followed by an inch of topsoil, a generous sprinkling of blood meal, and finally the rest of the topsoil.

If it rains today, I'll wait until afterwards to apply more mulch. If it doesn't rain today, I'll water the new bulbs and then try to spread as much mulch as I can. In either case, I don't suppose I'll want to be gardening while the rain gutters are being installed -- if, indeed, that happens. I have until noon before the workers are supposed to show up anyway, and may be able to "make hay while the sun shines" and/or the clouds gather.

Two surprises graced my bulb-planting project. Both involved freesias, the principal inhabitants of our bulb bed. I was astounded not to find any freesia bulbs in the space I had chosen for the daffodils. Granted, I'd identified it as a bare spot last spring, but the freesias are prolific in casting off tiny bulbs at the end of each flowering season.

The other freesia surprise was my sighting of the first freesia sprout of 2014's blossoming. If it rains today or tomorrow, more grassy-looking freesia foliage will soon follow this harbinger. I'll happily declare the start of fring and start watching for the first paper-white narcissus to appear.
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POSToccupations by Frances Talbott-White is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License