Yesterday I told you how I finally realized species tulips planted in the peony bed would help to bridge the bloom gap of late spring. I got the tulips chosen and purchased, and now I’m going to show you how I planted them.
The Smartest Way to Plant 150 Tulip Bulbs
But first let’s talk about the most efficient way of planting them, just so you know my way is not the only or best way. The most efficient way of planting them would be to dig a foot-wide, fifteen-foot long trench some four to six inches deep. Then you would place all the bulbs in the trench, somewhat randomly but more or less evenly spaced. And the truly smart person would have placed a tarp alongside the trench upon which to dump the removed soil, so all that dirt could be quickly replaced into the trench after the bulbs were planted.
The Way I Planted 150 Tulip Bulbs
But I didn’t plant the tulips that way. I knew there were crocuses and snowdrops in the bed and I wanted to save and replant them with the tulips. I also didn’t want to harm any peony roots. Also because of the peonies, I wanted to avoid stepping on the bed if at all possible. I had already seen some red points, the tips of next year’s sprouts, poking through the soil in places.
So, I dug out one square foot at a time.And I marked the four corners of the square with my trusty tent pegs, and piled the soil on my feedbag-cum-tarp. And I did unearth crocus and snowdrop clumps. Then I counted out ten tulip bulbs from the mixed assortment and planted them in the hole I had dug. Ten is actually a difficult number to arrange randomly. I would have been better off alternating between nine and eleven. However, with only ten bulbs per square foot, there was room to interplant the crocuses and snowdrops I had dug up. I divided the clumps before replanting. I wondered as I replanted these small bulbs, if they would normally have such long sprouts already, or if that were a result of the mild autumn we are having. I did run into one peony root which I just planted around.
After I filled in one hole, I would move the farthest tent pegs to mark the corners of the new square and dig again. I did it fifteen times, spaced over two days. As I worked, I wondered if it would look more like fifteen disparate clumps of tulips, or one unbroken sweep. I decided not to worry about that. I thought about how I was being a tad particular, measuring each square foot and counting out bulbs. Oh, well, that’s just me. That’s how I garden. My gardening methods fit my personality and not a work schedule or business plan. It’s also why, I mused, I could never garden for a living. I sleep better at night knowing I saved hundreds of small bulbs worth pennies each, at the cost of several hours of expensive (if I was paying myself) labor. And it will still look beautiful next spring.
How about you? How does your personality show up in your gardening?