A Bed for My Bulbs

July 12, 2009

Pink Tulips

My garden really started after going to Butchart Gardens in Victoria BC. I was so inspired! I came home & dug in. Literally. My soil is hard clay and rock. Horrible stuff to dig through, but with a pick ax and sheer force of will, I dug through it, pulled out all the rocks, dug some more and pulled out more rocks. I must live in the center of the rock universe! Finally deep enough I decided, the soil was amended with sand (remember, I didn’t know better at the time) and I was ready to plant.

I had just discovered bulb catalogs and poured over my stack listing all the flowers I wanted, then crossing some off to get the price back within my budget. In the next catalog, I’d find more that I really couldn’t live without & have to cross some off again. Endlessly. The lilies and tulips in the catalogs were glorious colors and the beautiful photos were exactly how I wanted my garden to look. So I began ordering. Tulips. Lilies. Lilies. Tulips. More. More. And more. I thought about getting a second job.

While waiting for the arrival of my lilies and tulips, I set about building my first ‘bulb bed’. Some of the rocks I had dug up were perfect for framing a raised bed, and I had read that bulbs liked good drainage. It’s true, about this time I started reading and studying how to grow a garden in the form of books and catalogs! The rocks were about a foot in diameter and were as heavy as they looked.

Formal is not my style, so I used a garden hose to create an organic shape and placed the rocks around the hose. I wanted the rock border around my bulb bed to be as colorful as the new tulips and lilies would be, knowing that I’d have no color after the flowers faded. My favorite color combination at the time was pink and purple, so using outdoor house paint, I alternated those colors, infusing the rocks with a bright aura. My husband put on his sunglasses each time he looked in that direction! A visiting neighbor suggested I tone it down…huh??? What did they know? It was magnificent!!

As the bulbs began arriving that fall I started to plant. And plant. And plant. My back ached at the end of each day, but I was determined to have a lush garden the following year and I didn’t want to waste my money by not planting all that I had ordered. I ran out of room in the bulb bed, so planted anywhere I could get a shovel into the ground with as little effort as possible. Eventually they were all in the ground and just in the nick of time as the temperature was dipping below where I was comfortable planting.

Yet another thing I didn’t know was that not everything in the catalogs was a lily or a tulip. Or that it might not survive my z5 winters. Or that rodents liked to eat them. The following spring when I had a nice display, but not exactly what I’d envisioned, I realized I’d better start reading the text more carefully & not just looking at the beautiful ENLARGED pictures!

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time…..


One Response to “A Bed for My Bulbs”

  1. 2 comments:

    Kathleen Krucoff said…
    How great Linda! Some survive, some don’t. We have 13 strip ground squirrels that attack many things. It is a challenge. Your garden looks lovely!

    JUNE 21, 2009 7:31 PM


    maccandace said…
    What a fun, wild-looking garden. I’m with you–I don’t like that carefully manicured look…the more natural look appeals to me and yours looks gorgeous.

    JUNE 22, 2009 5:34 PM


    Please join me in gardening chit chat!

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