My kids are now 10, 12 and 14 and I’m just starting to reap the benefits of having kids…..FREE LABOR IN THE GARDEN!!!
My kids are now 10, 12 and 14 and I’m just starting to reap the benefits of having kids…..FREE LABOR!!!! On Thanksgiving weekend I still had a shit-ton of tulip bulbs to get in the ground. If anyone needs to know the quantity of shit-ton, I think it falls somewhere between 500 and I lost count.
Here I was with a lot of clean up and planting to do, a Christmas tree in the house and I was running out of time when a light bulb went off! Well, it was more like a tulip bulb. I said in my most excited voice “Let’s all go out and do it as a family!” (insert moans and groans here) Let’s revise the question: “You are going to help me plant the bulbs so we can decorate the Christmas tree. If you don’t help with the bulbs, no Christmas tree for you!” So we all bundled up, grabbed some rakes, shovels and started opening boxes of flower bulbs.
A few things occurred to me as I was half listening to the 14 year old complain about having to do this “horrible” job. 1) When I was his age, I had already been mowing the lawn for 5 years and knew how to change the oil in the 76 Monte Carlo and 2) complaining is an effective way to annoy someone so much that they just need you to go away. He’s either really shitty, or really clever (likely a combination of both). I still made him do it – I just walked away with my headphones on and ignored him….like a teenager. Boom!
My kids have been helping me garden for years. My 10 year old daughter is the most interested and asks me a bunch of questions and is always offering to help (her attention span is about 10 minutes into helping before she’s done). My 12 year old son will do whatever job I ask, and he will do it really well. My 14 year old….well, we already covered that one. My dogs kept grabbing the bulbs and running away with them which made all three kids laugh and chase them around the yard. I love every one of my little weirdos. They make my heart happy and now they make my landscape pretty.
Regardless of the complaining, dog thievery and a couple of situations with dog poop on a shoe, we had a really good time outside planting bulbs. The kids planted while I decorated the porch with evergreen pots, garland and the ‘big balls’ (as my husband likes to call them). Because we did it together, it only took 2 hours and we are ready for spring and Christmas!
I know it’s only 15 sleeps until Christmas, but I have dahlias on my mind because I did this really cool thing and I never wrote about it! So, take a break from your regularly scheduled holiday garbage online and let’s rewind to the time to when it was only Halloween…..
Dahlias are awesome. If you’ve never grown them before, I highly suggest it! I plant mine in very early summer when I pull my tulip bulbs. They take a while to come in and bloom, but when they do, I get flowers well past Halloween! I’ve never saved my dahlia bulbs, but I was inspired to do so this year in the spirit of conservation, nurturing what I have and out of a genuine sense of curiosity…..yeah, I wanted to see if I could do it. In past years I’ve tried and failed miserably so I really had nothing to lose! So I put the Halloween decorations away and got my garden shears and shovel out to dig up some dahlias. I found a new method and hopefully it will work!
This is Gallery Bellini. I love this dahlia. I love the depth of colors and I love that she’s named after a cocktail you drink with brunch. I love this dahlia so much I want to grow her again next year! So I’m going to store my Bellini tubers using this really simple method.
- Trim stem down to about there (I’m pointing to photo on the left).
- Dig around and lift the tuber, careful not to damage the bulb (I’m pointing to the photo on the right).
- Place tuber with whatever dirt comes out around it in a plastic garbage bag and store in a cool place (I’m pointing to the bottom photo). You don’t have to clean the dirt off the tuber. Close the garbage back and store in a cool place that’s not too warm and not freezing cold (now I sound like the garden version of Goldilocks). I’m storing mine in my attached garage.
Pretty simple, right?!
I’m going to check on them occasionally to make sure they aren’t getting too moist or freezing (who am I am kidding….I don’t have time to babysit tubers). Next June one of two things will happen….. 1) RIP Dahlias for real, or 2) the dahlias will go back in the ground and bloom beautifully for me. I’m hoping for the latter.
Before I go into planting tulip bulbs, here’s your complimentary cute dog photo. He’s glad Halloween is over because the whole holiday scared the shit out of him (as if he could possibly shit anymore than he already does). I caught him trying to kill Halloween before it killed him. I think he won.
Tulips are beautiful. I absolutely LOVE tulips. We’ve had an abnormally late start to spring, so not much more than my daffodils and crocus are blooming right now. Considering today is 82 degrees, I think spring took so long to show up, summer decided she was done waiting around for that diva and stole the show.
Well hello there sunshine and beacon of spring!
Tulips are the grand finale in the spring garden show for me….except not this year. Last fall I planted hundreds of tulip bulbs in my landscape. There has been a TON of rain here in West Michigan, so I haven’t been able to keep up with spraying them for deer and critters. Fortunately, the spray I was able to keep on my landscape beds successfully kept the deer out. Sadly, it did not keep the chipmunk that lives under the porch from enjoying a buffet of delicious bulbs.
Tulips of spring past.
I have a dog. She is 80lbs of pure fun, love and laughs. When her and I head out on our runs, she unintentionally satisfies my interval training. Running with Maggie goes something like this…SPRINT! (squirrel)….STOP (pee)….SPRINT! (rabbit)….run slow (sniff)….repeat. So, I find it incredibly ironic that this brilliant puppy who wants to chase everything knows how to sit, shake, heel, lay down and knows what ‘treat,’ ‘pancake’ and ‘go wake up the kids’ means cannot keep a darn chipmunk out of my garden. I had an old cat who did a better job at keeping the local wildlife in line better than this big old chocolate lab. Maggie looks big and scary, her bark sounds vicious, she’s not afraid of thunder or deer and she will jump into any pool of water. But can she protect the tulips? Nope. I have no tulips, but I have the love of a big old sweetheart.
“What? Oh, you mean I’m supposed to chase things when I’m OFF the leash too?”