Friday, November 27, 2009

Naturalizing bulbs over a large area

I'm so proud of my niece, Jennifer, who lives near Tulsa, Okla. Jennifer is artistic and creative in every aspect of her life, and recently decided to take on a huge project to beautify a big open field and ditch along the highway in front of her Dad's Sonic, which her husband Eric manages. Jennifer took on a bulb naturalization project from scratch - and I'm positing an email from her (with her permission) so she can describe the project firsthand. Jennifer - you are officially my first guest blogger!

From Jennifer:
"The total number of bulbs planted in the front field/ditch were 1,730 (it was increased because I dug too many holes and there was NO way I was going to fill in an empty hole…so I went back to SAMS and bought what was left). As for “why,”this summer when we were on our road trip (via 13 states) we saw tons and tons of daffodils along I-40 in North Carolina. Eric kept hollering “Take a picture” “Look, there’s more” “Wow, that’s covered in those flowers”….on and on. So when we saw that daffodils were on clearance at SAMS we bought a batch so I could plant them in front of Sonic. Then one thing led to another and the obsessive shopper in me took over. Before I knew it I had also bought the Stars And Stripes Forever Triumph Tulip Collection (240 tulips total) to go around our front sign…not in the field.

"I invited all of my girls’ little friends to come help last week but to my shock, that didn’t even make a dent in the work to be done. They did get all of the red, white & blue tulips planted and Rachel’s friend Ian planted a few daffodils…but I had to work almost every day for the past week to actually get it finished. I left you a voice mail when I was on my way home from the final planting….I was so excited and a little sad that it was finished. I didn’t get quite the WHOLE field covered like I wanted but maybe next year I’ll fill in the blanks. I didn’t just want a few flowers out front – I’m going for Shock & Awe! Just like what we saw in NC. That way when Eric goes to work for a month this spring he can be just as happy & excited as he was on the road trip through NC this summer…oh and it would be nice if it draws in some extra business - but it was mainly for Eric. My mom took pictures of us planting. My hope is that this experience will be just like having a baby…once spring hits I can forget about the pain and just sit back and think 'Wow, I did that.' But as for now, my knees and wrists are very sore.

"I tried every method to planting bulbs over the week. I bought & used two different hole diggers especially for planting bulbs, both of which you step on to extract the cylinder of dirt. They worked great in the flower beds where there was no compacted dirt or clay. The problem in the field was getting that cylinder of dirt out of the digger thing. One had a lever you pulled for it to open so in theory the dirt would fall out…not if you just pulled up a cylinder of clay. Then you have to smack it and push & prod to get the clay out. Aaahhh!! We have every variety of bad ground all blended into one. Huge chunks of clay surrounded by sand & shell with gravel & tons of rocks…not just any rock - this is solid bedrock - then out of nowhere you hit dark rich soil. I resorted to using a narrower trenching/spade kind of shovel. I don’t remember what they are called. Most of my holes were probably 8” across and about 6” apart or more then 6-8” deep.

"In most of these holes I sprinkled a little Bulb Booster, planted two daffodils (one on each side of the hole), and threw in a handful of Peat Moss on each bulb. I added a tulip here and there. I threw in crocus in most of the holes once the hole was filled in ½ way. I read every website I could find on how to plant the bulbs and in the end I combined all the info I learned & hoped for the best. All and all the sites agree that Daffodils are deepest 6-8”, followed by Tulips 6” and Crocus at 4”. All the sites differed on if you need fertilizer or not…so I opted for a little in each hole until I ran out. Most all of the sites mentioned Peat Moss, some with more emphasis on it than others so I put it in every single hole since majority rules on that one. I squeezed every bulb before it went into the ground to be sure they are firm & not squishy. So, what’s done is done and now I’ll hope for the best."

Way to go, Jen!! Are you sure you're not related to me by blood, and not just by marriage and love? Send me a picture of you planting the bulbs so I can post it, too.
Aunt Jane

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