Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Year, New Growth

Planning for a retirement that focused on outdoor activities occupied my mind during the last few years of employment.  Building with native stone, walking in the woods and growing plants were the planned activities.  Winters trapped inside would be spent reading about stone work, hikes and gardening.  My need to see green things grow is a powerful force.  An annual tradition of seeds to soil on New Year's Day has taken several forms.  Leek seeds were planted on many first days of the new year.  Maturity has left me unable to digest leeks so now they are not grown.  Something new was needed for this very special day.

Recently, forcing Easter Lilies has become part of our observation of the first day of the year.  Trying to grow these plants three or more planting zones outside of their natural range has been less than trouble free.  Facing likely death by cold, the production of daughter bulbs seems to be the only activity on this plants to do list.  Each fall many small bulbs are found but the size of mature bulbs diminishes.  Plans to purchase new stock are in place but trashing all of the small bulbs seemed heartless.  Two pots were filled with entirely too many bulbs and placed in the ground near the house. The thaw just before Christmas seemed like the right time to move these pots inside.

Three of the larger bulbs were placed near the bottom of each pot.  Layers of soil and smaller bulbs were added.  Disturbing the bulbs seemed to trigger growth without a period of cold.  Frost killed new growth hangs over the edge of the adjacent pot.  My fears that nothing would grow when the pots were moved inside proved groundless.  I count nine new plants in one pot.  Three layers of three bulbs each makes the math come out right.  Weeds are also sprouting so our natural condition continues.  Somehow pulling weeds when the garden is frozen and snow covered just feels good.

2014's garden is actively growing now.  Tender plants that we carry over in the house are pleasant to work with but nothing feels as good as new growth.  Our New Year's resolutions include limiting purchases of new plants and finishing some spots previously opened for gardening.  Of course, the purchase of new Easter Lily bulbs are outside of the definition of the resolutions.

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