In typical Halloween fashion, my fall bulb order didn’t arrive until the weather had taken a turn for the worse. I found myself cursing my optimism back in August when I apparently thought that planting 155 bulbs was a reasonable exercise for the pouring rain and cold weather in late October. Dumb.
Maybe my memory is faulty, but it seems to me that bulb orders used to arrive earlier in the season, like in late September or early October when the weather is more mild and dry, instead of later in the year when everything is cold, wet, or frozen. To be fair though, those memories are from Wisconsin where it got colder a heck of a lot earlier in the year than here in western Oregon. Bulb companies do ship earlier to colder zones. I remember hacking my way through six inches of snow and a frozen crust of soil on one fine Wisconsin October day when winter arrived early, so I won’t complain about the wet weather here (even though I kinda sorta just did).
Speaking of bad memory, I am always thinking in Spring that I will remember where all those empty garden spots are where I will want to plant bulbs come Fall. I never do. Instead, Fall comes and I rush around like a mad man, trying to recall where all of those empty spots were. More often than not, I end up accidentally slicing through bulbs that already occupy that perfect-looking “empty” space because by then, there is no above-ground evidence that there is something already there. Double dumb. I’ve come up with a couple strategies to minimize that issue, which I will post about next time.
Even though there were two decent rains just prior to planting these bulbs, the soil was still very, very dry. Especially underneath the Douglas-fir and grand fir trees. My hands ached that night after stabbing the trowel repeatedly into hard-packed clay for several hours in a desperate attempt to make a decent sized hole at the appropriate depth. I’ll be honest here. Most of the bulbs are lucky, just plain lucky, to be even be planted two inches below the “soil” surface.
Fortunately, it never really seems to matter. They all seem to come up just fine in Spring – a true testimony to how hardy many of these bulb species are.
I don’t know…, isn’t it about time that bulb companies step up their game and move away from these plastic mesh bags and tags? Especially in light of the recent revelations about how the plastic industry has lied for decades about the recyclability of their plastic products. Turns out plastic isn’t nearly as recyclable as we thought and most of it ends up in landfills, roadsides, or in the ocean… Of course, the sustainability issue is more complicated than that, but I can’t help feeling guilty when I see all of this plastic.
The QR codes, incidentally, were completely useless as they just pulled up unrelated content about spacer bolts, Honda jet towbar heads, and residential wood playsets. Nice concept, but I wish they had actually worked as intended… to remind me how large Narcissus ‘Classic Garden’ gets before planting it in front of a shorter plant, for example.
Maybe it’s time for the larger bulb companies to do this again? I am guessing there is some reasonable explanation for why they switched to plastic. Probably most of it has to do with cost as plastic tends to be cheaper than paper. Paper is also less breathable, while mesh bags allow lots of air movement and let you more easily see whether the bulbs are moldy or not. Still, it seems so wasteful. It’s not like these items are even remotely recyclable. I don’t have a use for plastic mesh bags so they will go in the trash, although I guess I could try to reuse the backs of those ugly plastic labels (Note: nope, pencils don’t work on that glossy plastic). I certainly won’t be sticking them into the ground as ugly, little, white plastic gravestones to mark where I’ve buried the bodies (bulbs!)… although that would prevent me from slicing through them again next year…