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digging up daffodils

March 24, 2010

What can I say? I desperately need to garden. This time last year I was in Texas, elbow-deep in thick, black dirt (imported, I must admit… I could have started a pottery business with all the clay in our soil), planting lettuce and planning bell peppers and at least ten different kinds of tomatoes; experimenting with a new beet variety and planting a crop of sunflowers. It was absolutely heavenly.


Of course, the bell peppers didn’t produce the way we wanted them to; we had to wage a fierce war with the aphids and stink bugs for every single bite of tomato we took; the beets were absolute failures and the birds ate the sunflowers before they were more than seedlings. But I’ve from old gardening stock, and nothing is more intoxicating to me than sunburned shoulders and dirt under my fingernails. And as the trees are budding and the soil warms and comes alive, I am going into withdrawal.


Unfortunately, this year, we are not living on five acres and lots of gardening space in Texas; we are renting in a neighborhood in North Carolina with a small and excessively damp backyard. And I have nowhere to garden.


Now, I don’t know you, or if “you” even exist, but maybe you’ve experienced a deep-rooted, almost painful desire for something that you have been deprived of. Maybe you’ve dieted before, and one night have had someone set before you a massive slice of three-layer chocolate cake with double-chocolate ganache and a cup of black coffee.  Maybe you’ve been on a budget before, and have walked past a store window showing off the most perfect little dress ever made just for you. While I have never really dieted and have never liked shopping, I think that if you have ever experienced such things, you will understand the shock of bliss I experienced when I saw a small clump of wild spring onions that had come up in the back of the flower bed in our front yard.  Now, when I am smart, I smell the tops of the plants before I dig them out, just to make sure they are, in fact, onions. Of course, I’m not frequently smart, especially when I am trowel-happy. And I was very, very trowel-happy. I proceeded to dig up every wild onion I could find, including some that were more than usually large. I mean, big-as-my-fist large. When I had excavated every single one of them, I headed inside to show off my treasures. And that’s when I noticed something wasn’t smelling right. I sniffed one of the larger bulbs. It didn’t smell like onion. In fact, it didn’t smell anything like onion. Well, I did have a cold… maybe my sense of smell was off. I took a bite out of the green part. Definitely not onion.


Oh, darn. Every single large bulb I had dug up (read: 95% of my excavations) were daffodils.


I replanted them, of course, and am crossing my fingers that they will grow again, and take the horrific title of daffodil killer off my shoulders. And my mother, in the interest of protecting the plants around our house, has agreed to some potted herbs, and maybe a couple of tomato plants. Just not quite so many varieties as last year.



ps- I know, the flowers in the picture are not daffodils. But they’re pretty, springy, and come from a bulb. So there.  

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Rose permalink
    March 24, 2010 4:27 pm

    Love this! Perhaps a book such as The Illustrated Guide to Southern Bulbs is in your gardening future??

  2. March 24, 2010 10:26 pm

    Do you have access to a community garden area in your town? I don’t participate where I live, but we have two, each with about 100 gardens. What a great community of gardeners each is. They grow beautiful gardens, share plants, seeds, ideas, produce–sometimes I’m tempted, but I’ve got my hands full with my little yard and garden as it is. I wish you luck in finding a way to get your hands dirty!

    • March 27, 2010 2:20 pm

      Eleanor, we don’t have a community garden in my town, but I have recently learned that our local soup kitchen keeps a beautiful organic vegetable and herb garden (and the best part? They need volunteers!). I think I feel some dirty fingernails coming on. Thank you for the wonderful idea, and your inspirational blog! I really enjoyed reading it.

  3. April 6, 2010 4:57 pm

    That’s so great! I’m thinking this spring about doing some gardening volunteer work in addition to my own gardening. We have an immigrant community garden, just getting started, here in town and I think they need volunteers. What a great way to share your passion with other people, while doing a good thing for your community. Enjoy the spring!

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