Planting Bulbs, Corms, and Seeds
“As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, And its place acknowledges it no longer.” – Psalms 103:15-16
I think about this every day . . . if it were my last fleeting day to live, what should I do with it? Nate likes to tell a story about a man who was asked this same question, and the man answers, “Well . . . I would plant a tree . . .”
Being intentional about priorities is a common conversational theme among postmodernists. People accept that life is short and time is limited; it’s something my generation speaks of often. For example, “It’s ok if the house is dirty, because spending time with my kids is more important.” And, “Why not splurge? Life is short.” Most people can admit their “bloom” is ephemeral, but they want their turn to flourish in the field and have their place “acknowledged”.
After the letdown of modern science not being able to answer our “unanswerables”, the promise of abundant free time given and squashed by technological advances (who knew they would just give us more work? Ha!), and when our religious motions stop “working” for us, my generation is left to invent their own priorities in this life, create their own rules. And that seems to “work” for most people, at least temporarily.
And why wouldn’t it? If there is no authority to submit to or command how to live your life, then you get to do, think, and believe whatever suits you best. However, if everyone does, thinks, and believes something different, then who is right? And who is right about what happens after this life, after the wind passes and we are no more?
We didn’t get to choose whether or not to be born or what to be born into (family, status, country). Did anyone ask you whether or not that was something you wanted? They didn’t ask me. So what makes us think we will be consulted on what happens when we’re dead? Do you really think you get to choose whether or not you can stay in the ground forever or that your soul actually has to reside somewhere? Can we please admit that there are things we cannot choose for ourselves and synthesize control of?
Postmodernists put a lot of stock in subjective truths and like to ask questions such as, “What will heaven be like for you?” or “What’s your higher power?” As if they can all be different, chosen, and provide the exact same thing- peace in the afterlife. Logically, the One (and I stress one, singular) who created this world and brought you into existence is also the One who chooses what happens in the afterlife. And thankfully, God loves us enough to include us in His eternal plan. No matter what other decisions you prioritize today, instead of putting stock in your own fantastical afterlife, finding out what God’s plan is and how to be included should be at the top of your list.
The incomparable blessing of having assurance that the Bible is absolutely God’s truth is that I can live my life by Romans 8:1 “. . . there is now no condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus.” My priorities should be living blamelessly, showing honor to everyone, and loving God with all of my heart, soul, and mind. And where I fail (which is all of those areas), Jesus has me covered. So I can live today intentionally but worry free, knowing that after this life God has chosen, created and reserved a place for me. And I don’t have to live my life by the bloom, in fear of the wind.
So why did the man answer that with his last day he was going to plant a tree? “Because that was what I was going to do today anyway.”
Step 2) Choose Flower Placement
After you have ordered or purchased the flowers and they arrive, find the perfect spot for each. In my case, the flower beds are limited or non-existent. So for most, I will need to create the perfect spot. The tiered beds are finished. Most of the flowers I ordered are for that area. But even within the beds placement is important.
I like to have my list of bulbs and seeds with a sketch of my yard (see FLOWER.ORDER post). Then I choose where to plant each flower within my drawing (taking height and light into consideration). Some of my sketches look like this . . .
This also helps me explain my ideas to Nate. And we did this aerial view yesterday when choosing which trees to keep and where to put them.
Draw yours in a way that works for you.
I started with laying out all of the bulbs and corms I had to plant, then arranged them by height. I started with the tallest ones, which are the gladiolus. I had a bag of them from my awesome mother-in-law from last year and then several I had ordered earlier this year. I wanted them to be somewhere I would see them every day (it is such a waste to have pretty things bloom in isolation, glads are “social” flowers).
Then, I did the same thing with the rest of the bulbs- arranged them by height (they are all full-sun flowers).
The best place for the glads will be in the tiers directly in front of the concrete retaining wall (the wall might prop them up in a big wind). I wanted to plant them in 5 of the 7 tiers, so I divided them by 5s. Then I selected the best spot for the shorter flowers, and divided them by 5s to put in the tiers on the opposite side.
Step 3) Plant flowers
I might sound like a “broken record” (that idiom is for you, Dad), but you need to keep the instructions on your seeds packets and bulb boxes. Reading for each is how I know how deep to dig my hole. The glads need to be 4-5” down and the others are a mixture of 4-5” and 2” deep. This is what my glad hole and placement looked like . . .
And the other flower bulb placement . . .
I had to dig a two-level hole for the different depths. I used the same pattern and placement of bulbs in each hole. So when they come up they will be repetitious. It’s also good for design to plant them in clusters for a more dramatic effect. It’s a lot less dramatic when flowers come up just here and there. You want them to look like a crowd of cheerleaders. Whoa!
Afterwards, I transplanted more hostas to the top of the wall and the large tier right under it. This is before I buried the gutter line.
I’ve also been stuffing sedum here and there as I’m pulling it out of the retaining wall I’m still deconstructing on the right side of the driveway.
Next, I have my seeds to plant. I am still growing my veggie and herb seeds inside, but I have flower seeds I can sew directly into the ground. If you check my map, my wildflowers are going into the back corner of the lot; but this may change.
Here is an update of my tomato, herb, and pumpkin seeds one week after planting.
I created a new bed right next to the retaining wall to hold more flowers. The neighbors will start to think I have a vendetta against grass (I kind of do think mowing is stupid).
I transplanted two kinds of lilies, irises, and sedum.
I made holes for my blackberry lily seeds I kept from last year.
Pretty, right? After the flower withers away, it leaves a berry-like seed cluster.
Then I created a place to spread some zinnia seeds. I clip and dry the heads off the flowers in the fall right before the first big freeze. I store them in a paper bag like this.
Then I crush them in my hand and sprinkle them over the ground.
Zinnias are very tall and prolific, so I had to give them a lot of room.
In the middle of all of this, the mailman came by with a package of more of the flower order (the rest is coming later this month).
This is what it looks like.
I planted 5 small zebra grass plants in the new bed at the end of each tier.
These are my pumpkin plants. I put them in larger containers before the roots got all tangled up.
And my tree order came! This is what the group of 10 free trees looked like when it was shipped.
They color coded the stems with paint.
And included this key to the colors.
The directions said to soak them in water for 2 hours before planting for the best results. I wasn’t ready to plant yet, so they are currently in pots.
I started my small vegetable garden area. This is where I dumped a lot of the dirt from the retaining wall. I made a little retaining wall here from timbers and posts that were laying around so the dirt doesn’t wash down the neighbor’s property.
It’s difficult to see from this photo, but there are tomato cages lined up, a trench of cilantro in between and a couple of pumpkin plants on the end. I used some cardboard for mulch (because I figured, why not?), and covered a few of the plants with jars and milk jugs for the “greenhouse effect”. My folks always did that, and it worked well. So it looks a little like a hobo’s garden right now. Haha, but a hobo with food on the way!
At this point, I have done nothing to protect the garden from the deer or rabbits. I’m hoping the sensor sprinkler will keep the deer away, you can see it off to the left there. I will take more time next year to fence everything in properly. For right now, we will see what happens! A future post will contain a great recipe for homemade deer repellent.
Here are some updated photos of plant growth. I transplanted a bunch of flowers from the backyard to the top of the wall.
I had two different neighbors offer me plants while I was working outside. I was very touched by their generosity and excited to have plants I’ve never seen before, like Joe-pye weed.
This is what the patio is starting to look like from the sidewalk. That bare spot is from an old tree, no grass has been able to grow there yet.
I was clearing sod from the patio area anyway, so I decided to fill in the bare spot with dirt and grass. This is where I took the sod from (Open minds appreciated here. I am carving out the other end of the future patio).
And this is how I started placing it.
First I raked away all of the mulch, then laid each piece of sod like a puzzle, making sure there were no gaps. With the rain it will settle down and fill in nicely like there was never a tree there. This is the end product. Not bad, Nate didn’t even notice it when he walked by.
And I did the same thing where we removed the concrete from the front walk.
A little muddy, but you would be surprised how resilient grass actually is. This already looks a ton better.
My new friend, Franchesca the holistic vet, gave me the ferns in the back right there. And you can see the glads (I planted above) starting to come up along the wall on each of the tiers near the bottom of the photo.
The plants are really filling in and seem happy in their new home. I will continue to fill in flowers as the other yard projects come to fruition. Stay tuned for updates on the patio!