With the Indian winter we've been having (don't get me started) I've been able to extend my bulb planting into December. Which seems banana's when I write that down - DECEMBER - but it's true none the less.
Let the record show that to date, 2,450 bulbs (and 10 peony tubers) have been planted at Worlds End. A lot of those are fritillaria which are tiny bulbs and sure help boost the numbers. Crocus bulbs also cheat like that. They're so tiny; you just toss them into a prepared bed. Shoveling the dirt onto them and singing "Good Nite Little Babies! Sleep tight!"
Figuring out where to put all these little suckers was quite a challenge. There's a lot of soggy ground, and bulbs in general don't tolerate wet feet. It seems there's also a lot of VOLES and MOLES around these parts and - please do yourself a favor and do not google-image moles; especially do not google-image "star nose mole..." DO NOT...
I digress. You know the difference between a mole and a vole? I do happen to know because I live in a place where this difference comes down to the safety of 2,450 bulbs planted snuggly in beds I dug with me own hands and amended with peat and covered with mulch and edged (sometimes) with stones. Voles eat bulbs, moles do not. There it is. Voles are the real enemy here, and as it turns out, they are the cute ones. But cute or not, they've already chewed up dozens of "ruby giant" crocus planted around a mountain ash, and so those burrowing nocturnal fuzzies are going down. I'm not getting a cat yet - but I'm real fucking close.
Digging these beds went in a few stages; once we figured out where to put them we had to start digging them. Which is easier said than done. In children's books I imagine it's like: Shovel! Dig! Plant! Water! Bloom!; one step leads to the next in a sort of picture-book ease. The progression of steps I experienced this fall was a bit different, and came complete with spousal arguments (One titled "Who's fucking garden is this anyway?" shines especially bright in my memory as does "If you really loved me you'd help me dig this.")
Then there were the rocks. So many rocks around here. Which explains all the rock walls in the forest. This is what people must have done with their children instead of television; Go build a rock wall. Why? Because I said so. If we ever have children I have to make sure that all of the rock walls are disassembled, the rocks scattered so I can make them do that work again. It's good honest work. [Speaking of children, here's a great idea for your kids next birthday party; An Archeological Dig Party! Get 10 of them together in birthday hats and give them all shovels. Have them start digging for treasure in your planned tulip bed, instructing them to remove the rocks to neat piles on the side. When they complain that after hours of digging all they have is a big rock pile, explain to them that Howard Carter dug for YEARS before finding Tutankhamun's tomb, and how serious are they about archeology anyway? If anyone starts crying, quickly serve ice cream.]
Then there was the triumphant trip down to the Agway to buy mulch - in bulk - a notion which, in the spectrum of gardeners excitement, lands pretty damn close to ... ok I have to keep this clean ...
"You got a truck?" the girl says to me when I request a cubic yard. Oh yeah I got a truck...
A truck with a cap on it. And so the gentleman who was supposed to use the back hoe to dump the mulch into the truck dumped it instead in the middle of the parking lot and brought me a shovel. Do you know what a cubic yard of mulch looks like? It's more than you think, trust me.
So it went. Mulching is the most fun part, I could spread mulch all day and be happy as a clam. We'll see what happens come April.