January Update

Filed under: @ 5:27 pm

As somewhat of an antidote to my previous post which was, I’ll admit, a bit of a bummer –however necessary–, I present the following.


I’ve done it before, I’ll do it again. It’s January, half the state is flooded and the other half is still frozen, and I’m out doing pastoral dances (okay gleeful five mile walks) and planning my garden.
How do I know it’s spring?

My bulbs are up.

After Sheri and I finished with the front garden last fall I went a little bulb happy. I purchased, in three or four different batches, about 300 assorted crocus, daffodil, and hyacinth bulbs then wandered around the garden strewing them at random. Oh, and I can’t forget the gladiola bulbs that the nice woman at Herr Garden Center gave me. She thought I was nuts walking into the place in October wearing shorts, but I was walking from doing some errand up in Burien and just happened to stop in because they were advertising a fall bulb sale. I was wearing shorts because the weather was bright and wonderful. I’d walked about four miles from home to do my errand (expensive gasoline after all) and had another two to go to get back home. It was chilly, and I was perfectly comfortable in shorts, a long sleeved t-shirt and a wind breaker, but that’s beyond the point.
I was standing there gleefully buying my bulbs and planning a massive bulb flinging for the next day. {Interlude: “bulb flinging”. When one is graced by a large number of bulbs and plenty of space in which to plant them, one stands in some central location, tosses the bulbs into the air, and plants them where they land. It provides a wonderful natural look to the planting if you’re not interested in tidy, arranged beds of bulbs.}
Anyway the nice lady, in between chiding me for being a nutter, asked me if I liked gladiolas. I don’t have anything against gladiolas in particular. I wouldn’t go out of my way to purchase them, but they’re attractive enough. Besides I have a fond memory of sneaking several packages of gladiola bulbs under the covers of the hideaway bed that I slept on when I visited my grandparents alone when I was fourteen as a farewell and thank you gift for my grandmother.
So yes, I said, I like gladiolas well enough.
And she handed me about four packages of gladiola bulbs and told me to take them home and plant them. They were 2007 bulbs and had been in storage since the previous winter when, unsold, they’d been taken off the shelf and shoved into a storage bin. They’d started to leaf out at the growth ends, and neither the nice lady nor I had any idea whether or not they’d survive to bloom next spring, but I would at least be getting them out of her hair.
So I walked two miles home with a large bag of bulbs and thoroughly enjoyed flinging them the next day.
The gladiolas did stick up little noses of leaves around the middle of November and while those leaf ends are looking a bit weather worn, they’re still there and they may, in fact, bloom this spring.

So yeah, it’s January, but it’s spring. Everything out back is tidied away and waiting for the first rototilling. I’ve got a fair number of fronds from Baird’s rose
baird's rose
that I need to weave back into the main body of the bush so they don’t go crawling up the roof and growing in between the shakes, but the back garden is pretty well controlled at this point.
The front garden is looking a little shaggy. The active (i.e. above ground) bits of the agastache and the cat mint froze in the snow, but there’s new growth at the ground so I’ll just need to come by and prune off the dead bits at some point. I’m not certain that any of the four Australian bush mints (two in front and two in back) survived the cold, but we’ll see what happens when the weather warms up. One of my juvenile President Roosevelt rhododendrons
President Roosevelt Rhododendron
broke off at its main stem and may be seriously dead, and my hardy jasmine really didn’t like the cold but will probably be just fine.
Come over and see my garden. In a couple of weeks it’ll be spectacular.

6 Responses to “January Update”

  1. Dalek Says:

    Well, I’d hardly say Spring has sprung, but I too am getting early gardening fever. I’m hoping the weather stays reasonably un-wet this weekend so I can get out and do some pruning, general maintenance, and maybe some bed-turning if things really dry out.

    Speaking of gardening – the F&G show is February 18-22. I know you usually hit it several days running, and I definitely plan to attend at least one day. Want to go together?

  2. Margaret Says:

    >>the F&G show is February 18-22. I know you usually hit it several days running, and I definitely plan to attend at least one day. Want to go together?<<


    Give me a call or drop me an e-mail and we’ll set up plans.

  3. Dalek Says:

    Give me a call or drop me an e-mail and we’ll set up plans.

    Given that I should be seeing you next weekend (and admiring the current state of your garden), how about I plan on bringing my calendar and we pick a date face-to-face? :mrgreen: (more likely I’ll send an email, but just in case I don’t get to it before then…)

  4. SheriHi Says:

    This year, I treated myself to a two-day pass to the Garden show. Hope to see you guys there!

    My 5+ year old Australian Bush Mint is also struggling, damn Pineapple Express. Mine is fairly woody and 5 ft tall, so I’m going to prune it down to 2ft. If no growth by March I’ll cut it to the ground and wait until July to compost it. Margaret, let’s discuss what you want to replace them with.

  5. Val Says:

    Hey, how did the great Ginger experiment go?

  6. Margaret Says:

    Ah, the poor little ginger pooped. When I was digging around last spring placing a soaker hose and setting Japanese iris bulbs I thought, to my great delight, that I was feeling ginger root in that area, but nothing ever came up there last summer so I’m thinking it’s probably dead. I haven’t had the chance to go digging around that area yet this year. Maybe I’ll give up on the fernleaf lavender and try growing ginger in pots.

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