I’ve been planting. I’ve been planting and I feel like I deserve a medal. But how hard can it be? One website even boasts, “Dig. Drop. Done.” about flower bulbs. I wanted to believe them. How hard could it be? And the bulbs, they were so cheap…
But I live in Arizona, home to caliche soil. Caliche forms in dry climates. It’s a mixture of soil cemented together by calcium carbonate. Cemented is the operative word. It forms a layer a few inches below the topsoil and can be small rocks or large, lanky boulders. I borrowed my neighbor’s gas powered tiller and spent hours trying to break through small sections. That’s when I wondered why I bought daffodils instead of just iris. Iris bulbs are smaller and need to planted around four inches deep. The large daffodil bulbs need to be planted around 6-8 inches. The biggest indicator of success seems to be how deep one plants the suckers. It took me three hours to create a two foot by three foot plot if I rounded up my measurements. It was the end of September and even though I was close to 6,000 feet in elevation, it still reached almost 90 degrees every afternoon. Dig. Drop. Done. I think the motto for Arizona would be dig till you drop and pronounce yourself done. I found I could do two to three hours in the morning, then shower and nap resting until after four when I would start all over again. I was determined that neither dirt nor deer (elk) were going to stop me from having a beautiful retreat.
Finally, Nature decided to help. It brought a hurricane off Mexico moving lots of rain over my humble half acre in the Arizona woods. While I was sad for the devastation it caused others, I had the opportunity to be grateful. After three days of rain, the dirt was as good as a Midwestern corn field. (Well, maybe not, but it shoveled like one.) My husband drove up from Phoenix and we spent three cooler days finishing the job. And what a job it was! Over 250 bulbs when into the mud with less than half the effort. I was grateful for the miracle.
Next year, will be our first full spring in the cabin and the first year I will ever have a garden. In the spring, I want to supplement the bulbs with ever-faithful bleeding hearts and maybe some sunflowers. For now, we plant with foolhardy hope. We plant with a look to the future. Maybe I won’t get my medal. But if I’m lucky, I will get flowers.