January 13, 2009

How Many Gardeners Does it Take to Find a Bulb?

Am I the only gardener who forgets where fall-planted bulbs are located in the garden?

For the last three years, I didn't mark my fall-planted bulbs. I will even confess to having accidentally dug up daffodils and hyacinths because I forgot where they were planted. Since I promptly lost track of the bulbs AGAIN, I can't even tell you whether or not my negligence resulted in any permanent damage.

An interesting thing happened this fall when I was rearranging one particular section of the cottage garden.

I had planted a group of Dutch irises there in the fall of 2005. In the spring of 2008, I noted that the irises needed dividing. Then, I forgot the exact location.

After pulling out a small tree and three shrubs and all the perennials in this one area, it seems that I divided those irises after all! In all the replanting, the bulbs were raked around in the new soil amendments and now are nicely spaced in three clumps around the garden bed. The sprouts are already showing even though the irises won't bloom until April.

Knowing that was just pure luck, I diligently marked all of my new iris and allium bulbs when I planted this last October. The labels aren't attractive, so I know that those will be pulled next spring when the flowers bloom. Once again, I will lose track of my bulbs unless I have a better, but less distracting method for marking.

I thought about painting little rocks to use as bulb markers, but that's a lot of work.

Of course, it is my husband that has a great idea for marking bulbs! He suggested that we buy a bag of golf tees in mixed colors. Then, use a different color for each type of bulb. He's not even a golfer, so we don't have any around the house.

I think this is an ingenious idea. Did you know that you can buy 1,000 golf tees in mixed colors for under $25?

Are there any "green" golf tees out there?

Story by Freda Cameron
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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