ignorance is bliss

Greetings and salutations, everyone; yes, once again it is I, your popular host, Mani the purebred border collie, here today to talk about bulbs. You may remember me from such posts as “Day Of The Scorpiris”, among so many, many others.

Here I am in a characteristic pose. I was helping, as you can see.It’s kind of a melancholy time of year for the guy I live with, and no doubt for anyone who’s lost someone in their lives, and, to make things even less enjoyable, things are weird.

The guy I live with, being a gardener and all, often has to go out to the shed for stuff. I don’t go in there much at all, but I get the feeling it’s a melancholy place at this time of year, because the guy I live with and his wife built the shed, and she decorated it.
She built the windows and the shelf, and did all sorts of things to make the shed feel like a nice shed.
I know I’ve shown this before.
The curtains have been shredded by squirrels, and, if you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you may remember the time Earl (the squirrel) stole all the twine from the can of Nutscene twine you can see on the shelf.
You can also see the heart his wife carved into the shelf.
Anyway, one of the weirder things among all this weirdness has been the mail delivery. The guy I live with learned that one of his bulb orders was lost in the mail, and he was really fretting about another order from England, but today they arrived. He was very relieved.Most of the bulbs were in good shape, though the colchicums looked pretty pathetic. I know now, because the guy I live with talks about it all the time, that the colchicums needed to form roots, because that’s what they do at this time of year.
The guy I live with did a lot of thinking. This was the second time in the last two weeks that there’s been all this thinking.

There were three possible options. Plant the colchicums in pots and put them in the frame, or put the pots upstairs, or plant them in the garden. Eventually, after more thinking than even the faucet business took, the colchicums were planted in the garden, deeply, watered, then covered with soil, and mulched with pine needles.
They were planted in the “new slope”. It’s not really new, but the stuff growing there had been cleared away. I know it doesn’t look like much.
Those white stalks are Allium pskemense; they haven’t been cut down yet “because of maintenance issues”. (I’m not allowed near onions, so I couldn’t help.)

The next thing were the autumn-flowering crocuses. Some of these had flowering stalks, but no roots, which is just as typical as with colchicums.
About two months ago there was more of this thinking, which even involved digging up some crocuses to look at them “for scientific purposes”, and he concluded that crocuses already growing in the garden don’t need water in the soil to form roots.
If the newly-planted crocus corms don’t have roots, like the colchicums, they won’t form new corms for next year unless they get sufficient water.
So after all this investigation, he suddenly understood why so many autumn-flowering crocuses he’d planted in the last ten years (really expensive ones, too) never showed up the next year. They didn’t get enough water after they were planted. They didn’t form roots, and just withered away.
Crocuses, like colchicums, grow from annual corms. The starch in the corm begins to degrade at flowering time, and is transferred to the new corms, which then continue to grow, if they have roots. Last year’s corm withers away.
The crocuses couldn’t be planted in the garden, because it’s supposed to get down to ten degrees (-12C) on Friday night. Supposedly with snow.
They also couldn’t go into pots in the bulb frame, because when bulbs are planted there, they go into pots and are planted very deeply, almost at the bottom of the pot, which would be too deep for crocuses, and if they were planted at normal depth, and froze, that would be that. Bulbs are killed at low temperatures like that, which is why they grow in the ground, insulated by soil. Growing them in a pot doesn’t give them enough insulation; that only works for bulbs planted deeply. The guy I live with lost a bunch of crocuses that way; that was before he did all the thinking that he does now.
So the crocuses went into flower pots, planted at normal crocus depth, got watered, and are now upstairs.

This is the soil used for potting. Just old stuff that was in the troughs, with very little organic matter.
Then there were the irises. The guy I live with had already decided what to do with them, because ideally they need to be planted in August.
These are Regelia irises, which are like Oncocyclus irises but have more than one flowering stalk; also like Oncocyclus irises, they grow leaves in the autumn, which you would think is a very silly thing for them to do, but the irises do it anyway. (The leaves have a rough time during the winter, but new leaves grow in spring.)
Mostly forms of Iris stolonifera, from places like Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. (Not hybrids; I know enough not to ask.)
The rhizomes don’t look anything at all like regular bearded irises.
These went into pots which were taken upstairs, and watered.
You can see that the rhizomes already had roots, but all the ones he grew in the past would have had leaves by now (he gave all the Oncocyclus irises, and most of the Regelias, to the botanic gardens some years ago), and planting the rhizomes, which aren’t planted very deeply at all, in the garden when it’s supposed to get so cold seemed excessively dumb. The guy I live with has done a lot of dumb stuff in the garden, but even this was too much for him.

Maybe you can tell by now that the guy I live with mostly ignores all the bulb advice in books and online, because our climate is so different from most normal gardening climates, and because our climate is also very similar to the ones the bulbs grow in. That’s why he says “ignorance is bliss”.

Well, this has been one of those didactic posts, which, fortunately for everyone, we don’t do very often. There wasn’t enough about me, for one thing.
I’ll leave you with a picture of me, glowing in the dark.

Until next time, then.




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32 Responses to ignorance is bliss

  1. Paddy Tobin says:

    My goodness, you have had a very busy time keeping an accurate record of all the gardener’s activities at the moment and he has been very busy indeed and with so many considerations to be taken into account before the actual planting of the newly arrived bulbs, corms and rhizomes. The conditions are very challenging, indeed entirely strange to one living at this side of the Atlantic. The hint of the approach of a night of -12C would probably close the country here; it is a temperature I have never experienced. So, best wishes for the newly arrived plants and with the garden shed.

    • paridevita says:

      Well, it’s cold, but not all that cold. I still get to go on walks, at that temperature. I do have to be careful about my paws icing up, so I wear boots.
      The guy I live with said the coldest he’s ever experienced here is -33C. That was in the last century. Only lasted for a night, and that was that. There was snow on the ground at the time.
      The one thing we almost never see here is frost. The air is too dry. Aside from very little rain, this year, we almost never see fog, mist, or dew.
      There are no slugs or snails here. I guess that’s one advantage.

      • Paddy Tobin says:

        We live in a river valley so fog, mist, dew and frost are commonplace – also, slugs and snails but I don’t consider them a bother in the garden.

      • paridevita says:

        It sounds really nice. We purebred border collies originated in lands of mist and drizzle.
        There were some big snails here one summer; they came with nursery plants.

  2. Kathy Larson says:

    Although my garden in Iowa has a very different climate,now I understand why my established autumn crocus bloomed well this fall in spite of the extreme drought.Gardening takes a lot of thinking!
    My husband passed away June 30.We were married 43 years and gardened together.Reminders are everywhere.

    • paridevita says:

      There seems to be an awful lot of thinking when it comes to gardening, especially here, since the guy I live with insists n growing really different plants, and sometimes the advice he can find makes no sense at all. Like, “Wait for autumn rains to settle things in.” It would be a long wait.
      The guy I live with says he’s sorry about your loss; he definitely knows what that feels like. His wife has been gone for twelve and a half years now. Pretty much the whole house is a reminder of her.

  3. I suggest some of that thinking the guy you live with engages in is really insight. Insight takes a long time of thinking, usually, or sometimes it comes all in a bright burst. I am also reminded by your characteristic photo that you give great major side-eye, dear dog, most likely because you are in the presence of someone who does a lot of thinking when he thinks. The photo of the shed interior I am taking as a holiday card from you, filled as it is with sentiment and love. The Solstice is near upon us.

    • paridevita says:

      I do a lot of thinking, too, but mostly about food, and squirrels.
      There’s a card in the shed, with houses and snow, that says “Holiday Greetings”. The guy I live with put it there, years ago, to remind him during the summer of the passing of the seasons. Even though it’s hard for him to look at now, he’s not getting rid of it.
      All of the bulbs have been planted, in the garden or in pots upstairs, but there are still seeds to be sown outside. That’s going to require even more thinking. As in, “Where should they go?” He said there’s a corrolary, “Why did I order these?”

  4. Dye-a-dac-tick??? Wait ……what did you say Mani?? Sorry mee not know THAT werd. Wee are happy Guy got hiss seedss an got his thinkin dun an got seedss planted!!!
    An yore rite it iss not THE funnest time of yeer here eether. BellaSita Mum iss furry deepressed an missin her hubbiess (THE 2 guud oness) an her furamillee an close frendss who went to Purr Land this yeer…….
    THE GUUD thing iss it iss snowin alot THE past 2 dayss an snow makess her happy!
    Now to send youss’ sum of our wunderful white snow!!!
    An yore glowy collar iss furabuluss….mee wantss one….then BellaSita Mum cuud find mee inn THE dark an not step on mee 😉
    **nose bumpss** BellaDharma an ((hugss)) BellaSita Mum

    • paridevita says:

      The collars aren’t expensive at all. They have to be cut to fit, and that’s easy.
      It’s not a fun time of year, but there are memories, too.
      They say it’s supposed to snow tomorrow night. Not much, I guess.

      • Mee-yow mee will ask BellaSita Mum to look at our Pet Supply store fore this collar Mani…
        Pawss crossed fore sum snow or rain or sleet; anything that bringss you reeleef from drought!!

      • paridevita says:

        It’s supposed to snow tonight. We’ll see.
        They do make lighted collars for cats. The one thing about my collar is that it has to be switched on (just a thing the guy I live with presses) before my walk. And then off again when we get home.
        It isn’t like anyone needs to see me walking out in the field; it’s just a cool fashion statement.

      • Pawss crossed youss’ get snow tonite!!! Wee sure hope youss’ due! Wee has a teeny bit more…it is so purrty!
        An BellaSita Mum sayss shee willl look inn Pet Valu next time forre a glowin collar! Mee wuud look snazzy i=mee iss sure!

      • paridevita says:

        The collars are snazzy indeed.
        We got about an inch of snow last night. Hopefull it’ll melt into the ground instead of just evaporating, the way it usually does.

      • ****happy dancin**** here!!!!! HURRAH!!!!

  5. Christine says:

    “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle”

    May we be brave. And kind.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes. I did omit to mention one thing on the blog, that the guy I live with went out to talk his neighbor (also a widower) and his dog (the dog even got some of my biscuits…); his neighbor just lost his daughter to Covid.
      So the guy I live with talked to him for quite a while. And then gave away a whole bag of my salmon treats.

      • Reading of your friend’s loss is such a blow, especially harsh when a younger person is gone to this cruel disease. We have a close friend suffering right now. I expect, Mani, you will be compensated for the salmon treats.

      • paridevita says:

        I was compensated; a new bag of Whole Paws salmon treats (my favorite) came home with the guy I live with. He’s a pretty good hunter.
        (Oh, and today, he came home with three cans of Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream. Really good hunting.)
        It’s a terrible thing. Fortunately for our neighbor, the guy I live with isn’t afraid to talk about stuff like this, though some people are.

  6. barbk52 says:

    The more I read about dry gardening the more I see that it isn’t just not watering. It’s a complicated business. A garden writer, possibly Thalassa Cruso, once said that if you get it wrong the plant would respond in the unanswerable way of plants, which is death. Or something like that.
    Glowing boots would add to your ensemble, Mani.
    My brother passed away last month. I am the last of my childhood family, which is a lonely feeling.

    • Dear Barb K52: Sherri-Ellen of THE Purrfect Pad here. I was so touched by your comment. I lost my Brother many years ago. I HAD Step siblings & family & they abandoned me 7 years ago. I too am the last of my childhood family…
      This time of year is always difficult even with my B-Day being Xmas Eve…If I can help in any way please let me know!
      Sincerely, Sherri-Ellen T-D.

    • paridevita says:

      We’re sorry about your brother. The guy I live with is the oldest in his family now, and his sister doesn’t remember growing up in southern California, so there’s no one to share that with. Except his cousin, who still lives in L.A.
      I do have glowing boots. Well, reflective strips on them.
      Dry gardening is a complicated thing, because just when the guy I live with thinks there’s a plant he might want for the garden, it only looks good with irrigation. (You might be taken aback at how many “dry” gardens are irrigated, sometimes heavily.) It turns out, here, that most plants that don’t need watering are either native woody plants, or plants like thymes, lavenders, horehounds, and so forth.
      These all look better with extra watering, of course, and the guy I live with sometimes thinks about having an irrigation system installed, but that might tempt him to try a lot more plants that only do well with extra water.

      • barbk52 says:

        Yes, that’s is it exactly. All the shared experience has gone away with all of them, so you think of something but there is no one to remember it.

      • paridevita says:

        The guy I live with talks about that sometimes. He was pretty happy as a kid in southern California, and much less so after his family moved here. Until he met his wife, anyway.

  7. tonytomeo says:

    If you were to grow melons next summer, you could be a melon collie too. I would not recommend it though. As you can deduce, it is no fun, although melons are good. The many breeds of your species are remarkably proficient at contending with such unpleasantries. That is why Rhody is the therapist of our crew here. It must be a lot of work.

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