Here’s a picture of our cat Scooter, squinting:
Lovely, eh? She’s definitely great company in the house or when we’re outside gardening. But being a cat, she’ll be around one minute and off doing something else the next, only to reappear when you least expect it. Something like bulbs in the garden.
You plant the bulbs in the ground, add some water, and practically forget about them. Then when they’re ready, they emerge and bloom for a few days or a few weeks. Then they’re not there anymore, long before you get tired of them.
Most of the paperwhite narcissus in the garden have already bloomed. In San Diego they mark the start of the long bulb season, with its long successions of narcissus, cyclamen, freesia, dichelostemma, blommeria, oxalis, ornithogalum, ixia, ranunculus, homeria, calla, amaryllis, gladiolus, plus whatever else that you’d forgotten that you’d put into the ground. I never get tired of seeing them when they come decide to come around around. Something like the favorite cat…
I was at the day job, prepping for a meeting, when John IMs me from home.
Do you want me to plant the pansies?
Innocent enough question, eh? The day before I’d bought 4 sixpacks of them, little white vanilla numbers that I thought would be good temporary fill at the front of the new planting bed until I could decide what else to plant and until what I’d planted could begin to fill in. They’d been sitting in the sun and getting them in the ground would have been a good thing. So I said sure, go ahead.
When I got home they were in the ground, not exactly where I’d envisioned them, but attractive. John said something about how 4 sixpacks didn’t go very far in the big new bed and how he’d always wanted to do one of those color-zone plantings. Big swaths of one color next to big swaths of another. Something big, splashy and commercial. I groaned a noise that to him must have sounded like agreement.
The next day I get another IM at work. He’s bought more. Lots more. He’d forgotten how many plants he’d put in the previous day, so he got a quantity that he thought was how much he’d already put in. Instead it ended up being 12 more sixpacks. That goes a lot further than just 24 plants!
So there’s the bed full of the original plain white pansies, new dark maroon-purple ones, and another area of new white ones with purple faces. Pansies can be okay fillers up close, but spread throughout a garden uniformly between larger plants they begin to look like……….well, ever been to the landfill on a windy day? Little paper scraps blowing everywhere? Yeah, that was my first impression.
Note to myself: Breath. Let go. Stop feeling like you need to make all the aesthetic decisions. Give it time. They may look perfectly fine when they grow up in a couple months.
A garden is always a collaboration, whether it’s just you and the plants or there are others involved.