Tag Archives: Tulips

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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Crazy Fall Planting Day Has Arrived

Donnelly Roses

Roses near the side entrance to the Donnelly Center, MMU.

When I got home Friday, the box of doom was awaiting. It’ didn’t look huge, but I know that is has more than 1,000 flower bulbs in it, and I know that my extensive need for hours to do homework this weekend (that’s right kids, like many college professors, a lot of my weekend is spent grading or prepping, so it if makes you feel any better, the pain I inflict on you is shared).

I’m glad to do some fall bulb planting. It’s almost always rewarding. Not all of the bulbs I plant will sprout, but from experience I know that enough will that I will be looking forward to more bursts of color this spring.

As for fall, it is 27 degrees this morning in Cedar Rapids. We’ve had some frosts already, but I think this is the one that’s really going to kill all the morning glories and start to convince even the mums that life as we know it means hunkering down in the roots.


Roses in the front "wall" garden at my house.

At both the MMU campus and my house, several rose bushes have had a very nice late season bloom. Here are photos of a few of them before the cold fall takes them away.

The nap bear

The nap bear

And the final image? The bear? It ended up in my office after the Times open house. Audrey claims she’s going to get it because she wants a prize for one of her classes. I, on the other hand, don’t mind it where it is. Several times a week, for only about 20 minutes each time, I “measure my futon,” which means I take a nap. And yes, now I have a nap bear. If I can hide it from Audrey .

I’ll update you later on Project Crazy People Fall Planting Day. And 10 trees are still to arrive from the Arbor Day Foundation!

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Practice Run During Tulip-Palooza

Joe and Theresa

Me and Theresa in our racing gear, shot by Audrey on the back deck. I rode bike to Thomas Park and met her there for our first joint practice run today. On to Bix 2010!


Theresa and I did it—went on a practice run today. It was during the afternoon, which felt pretty warm, a good idea since the Bix is in July. 

We went about 25 minutes, which we calculate to be around 2 miles. Yes, it’s true, the young lady ambling along listening to her iPod took us a while to pass—her leisurely walk was almost my jogging pace. At least she wasn’t an old lady with a walker. 

I think Theresa almost went insane at some points. It’s hard when you’re young and healthy to run with an old man, especially when you have to be extraordinarily generous with your definition of “run.” 


Many people have clusters of flowers, such as daffodils, in gardens, and they look nice. I've tended to mix different colors or types more-not that I mind the clusters (I like them), I guess I've just into variety. Many tulips are in bloom now, including these three by the house in back.


We “ran” on the bike/walk trail near Thomas Park—the one that snakes through a Frisbee gold course where Ben and Brandon were playing. 

Taken with my 4-mile “run” on Saturday, it means I almost did a Bix this weekend. The Bix is 7 miles, very hilly miles, too. 

Well, at least training is underway. A few others in the family expressed intrest in doing the Bix this year, but so far, no other trainers. 

Despite an injury (she was bitten by a dog this morning), Theresa easily kept pace and ran ahead a few times when the maddeningly slow plod was too much for her. 

Give her credit, though, she always slowed down and waited for the elephant to catch up. 

They’re putting in a new trail off of the main one through the golf course, which looks like it will be nice, although much of the length was aggregate for now. 

We’re off and running! On a sunny late May day that happened to be in early April. A day that features many of the tulips in my gardens popping, a few added flower photos below. 

And then on to work. I have a ton. But the nice day would not be denied some outdoor activity. 


Magnolia in back, blooming like crazy. Sargent crab apple looks to be a bust for one more year, but many things are blooming.


Two more tulips

We have a few pastel tulips, like the pink one in the group of 3 above, but seem to favor more vibrant colors.


Native violets

These grow as weeds in the yard, but I move a few before pulling or spraying--I like these native violets in shady areas of the garden where they seem to do well. I think Pat and Anne used to flavor candy with them at one time? I seem to recall such an experiment in Clinton when Euell Gibbons was in fashion.


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