I finally dragged my lazy ass out front to plant my tulips. They’d been chilling in the fridge since arriving from Colorblends several weeks ago. Had they been in there for the full six weeks? I don’t know. All I know is, we got a break in the rain and Thanksgiving is Thursday and I need room in my fridge for holiday food, not tulips.
“What? I thought these were shallots! They’re in the stuffing!”
First, I dug the planting hole. I skipped the bulb auger this time because I had a hundred tulips to plant and realized I should just dig out the entire swath of soil along the front edge of the bed. I actually only got ninety-four of them in the ground. That’s because my basil is still growing and I can’t… won’t… pull it until I make several more batches of dairy-free pesto.
I’ll plant the leftover bulbs in a container. As happens to me sometimes, strange things happened while I was out front. A homeless man walked by and turned back to ask me the time. I gave that to him, but then he… clearly not a neighbor and clearly emboldened by my politeness… asked if I know someone named “Laura” who lives on my street. Dude? Don’t. Even.
“Not at all.”
I replied in a voice that encouraged him to keep walking. When creepy drifter guy was gone, police helicopters started hovering over my street, announcing something from the loudspeaker that I couldn’t quite make out. I think it was about a missing boy. Then a police car cruised by, circled back and then took off. I don’t think the two unsettling events were connected; just random strangeness that punctuated what was otherwise a lovely fall day of bulb planting. Usually, my neighborhood is quite idyllic.
As the afternoon sun waned, the soil came out, the bulbs went in, the soil went back in, the pansies went in, my back began to groan. I didn’t add any granular fertilizer to the soil, so I will hit the pansies with liquid fertilizer in a couple weeks; these bulbs contain all the nutrients they need in order to bloom.
I decided to plant a flat of ‘Dynamite Wine Flash’ pansies over my bulbs. Meg and Michael at the nursery helped me settle on that color over ‘Antique Shades’, which I also liked. The flat sat untouched for a week since my mind was pulled in other directions by other distractions. You can tell by the roots that they needed to go into the ground… stat. It feels good to have tulip planting out of the way. Now we get to sit back and wait for the show.
Guarded within the old red wall’s embrace,
Marshalled like soldiers in gay company,
The tulips stand arrayed. Here infantry
Wheels out into the sunlight. — Amy Lowell, A Tulip Garden.