The daffodil hill experiment in landscaping | Opinion

About a year ago, in the spring of 2020, my wife and I went for a walk with Bella. We passed a neighbor’s house and Kate admired the large pile of daffodils. They must have been planted many years ago because they were healthy and thick with bright yellow flowers. I knew Kate’s favorite color was yellow so I thought I would buy daffodil bulbs and plant them.

Coincidentally (or maybe not) Facebook showed me an advertisement on the same day for a Dutch company that grew bulbous plants like tulips and daffodils. So I went to the website and found that in the spring, when everyone is seeing daffodils after a long cold winter, the bulb outlets have spring sales. The headlines read “75% off!” “Giant Daffodils!”

The website would only charge me if they ship my bulbs in my zip code at the right time for autumn planting. “How comfortable,” I thought. So I bought a couple of collections and another “naturalized” one.

A catalog arrived a few days later, a result of the fact that they now knew where I lived. Sometimes I can’t believe the stupid things I do. I forgot that I already ordered lightbulbs and that I was seduced by the beautiful photos in the catalog. I bought a few more. And then, in the summer, I forgot all about daffodils.

I received an email in early October telling me that my order would be arriving soon. “Great!” I thought. “Kate will be so happy.”

About a week later, a box of 104 lightbulbs arrived, all neatly wrapped and embedded in sawdust. Kate was pleased, though somewhat surprised, to plant 104 onions. “Don’t worry,” I said. “I’ll dig, you plant.” She said she needed time to decide where to plant them.

We still hadn’t started planting our bulbs when I received another email notification from the onion company about 10 days later. My second order had just shipped. I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Soon a box of 98 lightbulbs arrived, courtesy of UPS and my memory with so many holes in it.

“What did you do?” Kate stared at me. “I forgot that I ordered the first batch. I was just thinking how much you like yellow. “

She uttered a few yellow expressions that were not suitable for printing.

We started planting our 202 daffodils, and the first thing we discovered was that our 72-year-old bodies were struggling to dig, bend and stoop and couldn’t keep up. And a planting period loomed above us. We had to get these lamps into the PDQ floor.

I bought an auger and thought this would make digging holes easier and faster. I hooked it up to my 25 year old ⅜ inch drill bit. I had to open the chuck as wide as possible to get the bit into the chuck. I dug a hole and the drill started smoking. Of course I would need a stronger drill.

So it went to the drilling section of my favorite hardware store, where I took a 1/2-inch drill bit specifically built for conquering concrete. This was a heavy duty drill – it required two hands to operate – and it was more than a match for hard-packed clay from Tennessee. I returned home with an expression on my face that was business.

So I dug and she planted and I drilled and she stooped and we got through about half the bulbs when we just ran out of space to plant the rest. We have a single lot in town and we have planted in the front yard and in the background. So we started planting them in pots, sometimes 6 in a pot. We planted about a dozen pots and we still had a significant number of bulbs.

At this point we ran out of energy and gave about three dozen lightbulbs to our neighbors. “We can still look at them when we walk the dog!” I thought. In return, we were given a large bag of rocket.

At the end of January of this year we noticed small green sprouts and I was afraid that we had not planted them deep enough. But they were fine. Now they look good and appear to be healthy.

The lamp company sends me catalogs, about one every month. Kate intercepts the mail these days and removes the catalogs. She tells me that she is often tempted to hit me on the head with a rolled up catalog.

But I know that yellow is still her favorite color.

Rev. Jeff Briere is Minister for the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

Rev. Jeff Briere is Minister for the Holston Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

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