When I moved to the country, nine years ago, I was thrilled at the prospect of having five whole acres in which to play. When I started to envision garden spots, the empty space at the edge of my driveway seemed like a logical first step. With full sun for most of the day, it was the perfect place for planting spring flowers. After looking through dozens of gardening catalogues, I finally decided to order a complete spring garden: mixed tulips, sunny daffodils, delicate hyacinth. When my order arrived, I pulled on my garden gloves and went to work, painstakingly following the directions as I planted the 150 mixed bulbs, visions of springtime glory dancing in my head. That night, I had unexpected company in the form of a hungry skunk and the next morning my vision was shattered when I discovered 100 empty holes where my beautiful bulbs had been. It was a hard lesson learned.

Thankfully, all was not lost, and my ten surviving tulip bulbs have, over the last nine years, multiplied into twenty-some. I have gone on to add lilies, lupins, and gaillardia for a colorful, season-long parade of blooms. But recently, I revisited my vision of a lovely spring garden, and added “Plant 50 Tulips” to My 50 List. To make sure I did it, I mail-ordered two collections of bulbs, a mix of traditional red and yellow Dutch tulips, as well as a pretty, pastel mix. As of last week, they still hadn’t arrived. Impatient, I went to Wal Mart and bought a couple of collections to get me started. I love the gorgeous double tulips, almost peony like in their size and shape, so I picked up a set of those in mixed colors, along with a collection of regular bulbs in a shade of pale apricot. Today was a beautiful day for planting, so I took my bags of bulbs out front and got started. Back to school now, with limited time for gardening, I’ve missed the feel of soil beneath my hands, so I worked without my gloves. When I had my bulbs all planted and watered, I gave the area a liberal shot of Repels All to ward off those hungry skunks!

Opening the package of apricot bulbs, I changed my mind about planting them in the front garden and moved to the little flower cart bed beside my blue bird house. I didn’t have any spring bulbs planted there, so hopefully this April I will have a profusion of lovely tulips to kick off the blooming season. I’ll let you know!

This summer, in my bird watching adventures, I noticed the distinct absence of blue jays in my yard. Despite their bad reputation for terrorizing smaller birds and hogging the bird feeders, I’ve always liked these beautiful, blustering birds with their magnificent blue coats and black collars so I welcomed this sassy visitor who sat in the pine trees, scolding me while I worked!


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