Monday, March 23, 2009

Spun Gold

Every day brings a fresh bounty of golds this time of year. The common forsythia is ablaze with chromatic color. All my well- healed East coast friends hate it...."how suburban"- I could not disagree more. After months of grayness and cold, the brilliant sprays of blossoms give me a lift I could not find another way,seeing a hillside dripping with it could be anything BUT suburban, grace personified. Late March also brings with it other succulent yellows and golds.Winter Aconite is on it's way out, but the true buried treasure of the Daffodils and other Narcissus are making me happy I spent the time to plant, every Fall. I am not cheap...but I am frugal. I'll spend stupid money on a few select bulbs from my favorite sources, but most bulbs I plant were on sale. I'm not embarrassed by this, I think it's chic to be money wise. I go to all the box stores, K-Marts, Mom and Pop hardware stores...anyone who would sell Fall planted bulbs- and stake out the territory. I have my wish list of desired varieties that need to be purchased on the sly. "Tahiti", "Cheerfulness","Petitfore","Geranium" were all on the list last fall. After I see the first sale sign go up, I methodically search the bins for the still plump bulbs. Most Fall planted bulbs can be planted until the ground freezes hard. Here in my zone 5 garden,that can be after Christmas. The later you plant those bulbs, the later they will bloom the following spring. Subsequent Springs will return them to their natural flowering time. Some years this can be a fortuitous event,blending bouquets with varieties that only a dutch master would put together. So many of those 17Th century paintings were total fantasies...the flowers often bloomed at wildly different times,but they made us believe. I then back track to the different locations and "clean up". What do I do with my booty? I usually plant them in naturalized drifts in the lower meadow, and along wooded paths for unparalleled beauty in the woods. Narcissus are not a native plant,rather a European interloper like myself. In the countryside, where I live, there are just too many wild creatures to eat Tulips, but everyone seems to leave the daffodils alone-thank God. Another early harbinger is the lovely Cornelian Cherry-it's golden-green branches carry you upwards to the sky, where you can appreciate it's beauty against a bright Spring blue. Layers of the different yellows and golds give a warm dimension the the spring garden that nothing else could. I say screw the Dow, invest in gold!

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