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Gardening with Friends*

November 12, 2007

First of all, it was somewhere around 20 degrees Saturday night!
I know!

bulb planting work group

The day started out chilly & wet, but the Fall Creek Gardener’s Collective was undeterred. After a fortifying diner breakfast at Ziffy’s (which needs a post all to itself), I met Andrea and Seth and their crew for a bulb planting and clean up day at the park at the intersection of Cayuga and Cascadilla, bordered by the creek. They planted 100s of narcissis, crocus, muscari, and tiny tulips.

They aren’t paid to do this; it’s out of love for their neighborhood and the color to come in early spring. The tiny triangle of packed down grass b/t the sidewalk and the street (in the top picture) will surprise passers by with a serpentine uprising of yellow narcissus when the snows melt. I hope it makes someone smile.

a bulb in the hand

dirty hands

old garden tools

Learned something from a soil scientist in the club: our plentiful earthworms are not native to this part of the world (glaciated areas), but were brought in purposely by European immigrants and now through non-native plants and the fishing/bait industry. What gardeners love about them turns out to be bad for forests, since their ability to turn over 5 *tons* of organic matter in an acre in 1 year too quickly strips the forest carpet of leaf matter, which ordinarily turns over in about 3 years. The carpet can no longer do its jobs of insulator, phased-fertilizer, and weed controller. Without it, erosion starts, nutrients bleed away, and the plantscape starts to change. Much more in this article.


Sunday dawned bright and sunny (still 23°) with a glistening frost over everything. That alone made my day. Busted out of the house to take pictures before my darling husband could finish making me a frothy-hot latte! Things were melting fast, and it warmed up into the high 40s, so I spent all day outside lapping up sunlight, taking pictures, cleaning out the garden, planting alliums that sweetie Andrea gave me, and thinking about what to plant in spring to fill in the front bed. Looked for muscari bulbs (to add to our wild hyacinths), but they are all gone at the Agway. One thing I’ve learned about gardening in NY: seed stores do not favor the latecomer. Plan ahead & get ’em before they’re gone!

Here are a couple frosty images, quickly downloaded before we had to leave for a concert last night. I’ll put more and bigger over on Flickr soon.

frosty lizard tail

The Russian Blue Sage finally looks at home.

frosty Russian Blue Sage

* I was gifted that book once but sold it back (the sad weeding of bookshelves that comes with each move). Saw it again the other day in the window of Autumn Leaves bookstore.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 12, 2007 3:10 pm

    Interesting about earthworms not being native. Did you know our typical garden snails also aren’t native to the U.S. They actually literally escaped the cook’s pot after being brought from France for culinary purposes — and then multiplied like crazy!

  2. November 12, 2007 9:40 pm

    If you like worm stories, you might check out Amy Stewart’s The Earth Moved.

    Tell me more about the bulbs in triangle park. Did you all make any specific pattern or design in your planting?

  3. bloomlikeflowers permalink
    November 13, 2007 11:10 am

    Hey Mr. Hollow, thanks for turning me on to Amy Stewart! A quick trip to Amazon and GardenRant = lots of new educational distractions for me–I’m at work ;) Very curious about her book on the flower industry.
    Re: bulbs in the park. I was just a tag-along, but it seemed that the plan was to fill out the bed on the northeast corner with more than just the muscari (and many perennials) there now. We edged the beds with mass-grave plantings of the various bulbs. Seth took charge of the tiny triangle at the southeast corner, and dug a serpentine trench. It was a spontaneous decision, limited only by the number of bulbs on hand. Given more, I think we’d have convinced him to do a spiral at the fat end. We were all inspired by the bulb labyrinth :)

  4. craftyinfidel permalink
    November 13, 2007 11:06 pm

    Oh I’m so jealous! That sounds like great fun. And that Russian Blue sage looks beautiful.

  5. November 20, 2007 8:34 am

    Thanks for stopping by my website. Sounds like we won’t be neighbors for long, since you’re already getting ready to move to Africa. If you like Sartorialist and Dress a Day, make sure you check out Cornell’s fashion offerings, such as these treasures..

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