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The first time I went out to plant daffodils with my nifty bulb auger, the soil was too dry to drill easily. Yes, our irrigation system is on the fritz. Again. So I soaked parts of the front flowerbed with a garden hose, drilled a couple random test holes in the more moist sections. Ah, much better. I knew I’d also be contending with sycamore tree roots, but figured the edges of the triangular bed were pretty safe since they were farthest away from the trunk.

I’d gone back and forth on planting pattern aesthetics. Did I want to sprinkle the bulbs in the bed in a pseudo-natural “I am a daffodil living wild in the foothills” fashion, or did I want a clump, a drift or a more refined row. In an uncharacteristic moment of formality, I decided to try a formal row along one edge of the bed. That is… until I started drilling. Every hole in my row hit 3/4″ pipe that was buried a shamefully shallow 4″ deep, proving yet again that the people who landscaped my yard before I moved in were just as naughty as I thought.

I find examples of landscaping naughtiness all the time in my yard. There’s weed fabric buried under 6 inches of soil… too-shallow PVC pipe being battered by freezes and my shovel… sod netting tangled into in the soil in my flowerbeds… the irrigation timer never works… terrible to non-existent sprinkler pressure. We’re going to do our best to exorcise this demonic landscape installation.

Speaking of demons and Hell… my new bulb planting aesthetic is guided solely by wherever the hell my auger happened to randomly avoid pipes and roots. Most of the bulbs are in, and I’ll plant the rest today now that the rest of the bed is moist. I should probably do a little careful Bermuda grass tugging around my California poppies as well. I used to be afraid to pull Bermuda, preferring to spray with organic herbicide. When I use the herbicide, the Bermuda does turn brown, but then I forget about it and it greens up again. So I pull. It’s this little game we play.

Challenges aside, my bulb auger is an awesome tool. You simply attach it to a drill (mine’s cordless) and pull the trigger. If you need a bigger hole, simply make two adjacent holes. Using it, I feel capable. That didn’t stop a man walking his dog from saying, “That tool is too big for you.” I chuckled awkwardly out of politeness, but it was difficult to conceal the wince. No, dude. My bulb auger and compact DeWalt drill are not too big for me; apparently the sight of a woman planting flower bulbs in her front yard is “too big” for you.

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It’s a terrible system.
But the good news is that then there is new life.
Wildflowers bloom again.
That’s it? you ask. That’s all you’ve got? No. I’ve also got bulbs.

-Anne Lamott. Stitches

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