Tag Archives: daffodils

Planting Hundreds of Fall Bulbs

Garden hole

A hole in my garden, with tulip and daffodil bulbs ready to be covered. There were many such holes today.

Well, those bulbs came in the nick of time.

While I was on campus Wednesday giving a makeup midterm exam, one of my daughters sent me a text to  let me know that several big boxes of flower bulbs had arrived at my house. (Said daughter was dropping off a nice surprise, some yummy pumpkin cinnamon rolls with homemade cream cheese frosting.)

And today, we (two of my daughters and I) divided up the bulbs (the two daughters are getting some) and I planted. And planted. And planted. We had several varieties of daffodils and tulips, some grape hyacinth, Spanish bluebells, etc. I’m most excited by some Echinacea. I have many purple coneflowers, but this is a mix of some other colors. Tristan helped me plant them in the garden by the chimney and pear tree. I hope they come up.

Other than that, it was a long process of digging holes and planting. I had to Google some bulbs to learn how deep to plant them. We made one error-buying one kind of flower that is “out of zone,” that isn’t usually hardy this far north. I planted them right up against the foundation of the house and up against the rock wall in the lower garden—I’m hoping those spaces will be warm enough for these flowers to survive.

In the end, I was digging some daffodil graves. Just creating holes and chucking in as many bulbs as I could.

That will, I hope, create attractive clusters in the spring.

That’s what’s great about planting fall bulbs. It makes you anxiously await spring, which, knock on wood, should have some new pretty colors.

I originally thought we would plant all the bulbs in all three yards today. That was crazy, because, in fact, planting just in my gardens took all day, almost until dark. So there are still two sets of flowers yet to plant.

Well, wonderful. More places that should look better next spring.


My shovel. That and my trowel got a lot of use today.


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The Sudden Guest Appearance of Spring

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Well, hello there. How are YOU doing? It’s only April 24. Not that anybody noticed, but usually the daffodils are almost spent, the tulips at their peak, the magnolias already gone, the apples and crab apples fading—in short, you’re late.

But, welcome anyway. Please stay a while. If April showers truly make May flowers, we’re in for buckets of bouquets in the coming weeks.

Today, I checked out the flowers in the back yard. More daffodils are in bloom, the lilacs are getting ready and the rose bushes are shaking off their winter slumber.

Spring, it’s nice to see you.

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The Glory of Daffodils in a Slow Spring

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart on MMU campus. This is the one image not from my morning walk with Zoe. Bleeding heart is a sadly apt flower-I have some but they aren't in bloom yet.

The bleeding heart is apt and reflects my mixed mood this week. One of my blog (and MMU) pals posted a rain photo on her Jenion blog earlier this week, and grey skies can lead to grey moods—let alone family tragedies.

But, let’s focus for a brief moment, even if there is a frost warning tonight, on the upside of a slow, cool spring. For one thing, despite frost tonight, there have not been the kind of bud-chilling colds that can kill flowers visiting our area of Iowa this year.

For another, for some reasons daffodils seem to be blooming forever. In one of my earlier blog posts I confidently predicted the sudden upcoming season—within days—when the crab apple trees bloom, the other trees leaf out and warm spring begins.


Daffodil in back garden by deck.

Yellow daffodil

I like other colors, but yellow is my favorite daffodil. Recent rain has kicked up some mud, this is a dirty daffodil, but like a grandkid who has been playing outside, the dirt doesn't keep it from being pretty.

More back garden daffodils

Still in the same garden, a variety of colors here.

Daffodils in side garden

Daffodils in side garden by the east fence.

It hasn’t happened. The redbud buds, the apple buds and the crab apple buds are there, but tighly closed, awaiting some sun and warmth, I suppose. Even my magnolia bush, even as others in Cedar Rapids are blooming and fading, is still quiet and on the verge of blooming—which it has been for weeks.

Pear tree

Pear tree is the first fruit tree to bloom.

The pear tree, however, has sprung to life. One advantage of cold, windy weather is that I can’t smell it very well, and if you are familiar with pear trees, you’ll understand what a good thing that is.

Anyway, the upside of a rainy, cold spring? Longer bloom time for pretty daffodils, and cloudy mornings with diffuse light that makes it easy to snap photos in the morning as you walk your dog. I’ll finish with some images of tulips and one magnolia picture–buds are so, so close, but holding back a bit in the early spring chill.

Tulip bud

Tulip ready to bloom. We are definitely going to plant more tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth this fall.


Pink tulips by chimney.

Grape hyacinth

Need to plant more of these.

Pink hyacinth

I think this might have been my Easter plant.


Magnolia ready to bloom.

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Magnificent MMU magnolias and daffodils


Daffodil in MMU Grotto April 11

Sunday at MMU–and I noticed the magnolia near Warde Hall has suddenly bloomed, along with daffodils there and near the grotto.


Magnolia near Warde Hall, MMU, April 10


And again ...


Yet once more ...

Daffodil twins

Daffodils near Warde Hall April 10

Daffodils and bug

Better framing and a bug, too!

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What Is Between A Lion and A Lamb?

Magnolia, MMU

Magnolia buds near Warde Hall, MMU, showing a milky, sunny spring sky March 1, 2011.

Magnolia, MMU

Same bush-tree, different view. The buds are getting big!

I’m not sure. March came in today, and we’re glad it’s here. It wasn’t exactly a lion—it was chilly this morning, breezy and in the 20s (that’s not Centigrade, all you European readers, it’s below zero to you), but sunny.

The Nepalese chartreuse scarf Kathryn Hagy kindly gave me (she gave scarves to all of her CLA colleagues at MMU after returning from sabbatical in Nepal) kept my neck warm, and, I’m sure, made me look dashing as I biked in this morning. Yes, it was cool, but not too cool to peddle.

In Iowa, March is a between month, the 12 or 13-year-old of the calendar—it shows signs of coming maturing and sophistication but also is prone to sudden, inexplicable winter outbursts. This day, when it will get into the 40s, is the warmest in our weather forecast this week and snow may be coming, so even if the entrance wasn’t big cat scary, the lions of March are still hanging around.

Well, lambs are also on their way. The photos here were taken in my yard and at MMU. I don’t clear away old garden growth until new growth starts, partly because I like the look of last year’s flowers until this year’s start —but, as you can see, some aren’t waiting.


Daffodils? Something is coming up in my back garden.

The cold bulbs in the half-frozen soil are starting to expend last year’s stored sunshine on this year’s first flowers. They are nowhere near blooming, but you can see them. The magnolia buds are pendulous with the promise of fragile, ephemeral flowers ready to appear and quickly fade.

The tulip tree shows a few buds, too. Are they flower buds? The three is 20 feet tall, it’s surely a gangly adolescent by now, isn’t it time for this lusty young plant to suggestively thrust its sex organs at us in a obscenely pleasant springtime show? One can only hope.

I’m feeling a little springy today. Early March is a brown time, but early plants are getting ready to send their come hither signals so they can get loved up by some bees, or, if they aren’t that kind of flower, they are primed to promiscuously ejaculate their pollen into the spring breezes.

March: It’s not a lamb, yet, but young life is on its way. Not a lion, either. This year, did March came in like a bonobo?

Cone Flower seeds

Gone to seed--last year's coneflower in my "Wally Wall" garden.

Tulip Tree

Bud on Tulip Tree. It's at the end of a branch, so it's probably jut a leaf, but this tree is getting very tall--maybe I'll finally get to see it flowers this spring.


Early tulips in my back garden. Sex in the city!

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