It is the end of October and we are planting bulbs at Poison Ivy Acres. Lots of bulbs. Today we put in 330 Narcissus bulbs – several varieties. Most of the bulbs we planted were from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs and boy was I impressed with them. We’d placed a large order with Brent and Becky early in the fall, and the bulbs arrived last week. I can tell you truthfully that I have never gotten such large, mature Narcissus bulbs from any other source. Most of them had two “noses” and many of them had three. As a champion of independent garden centers, not to mention an employee of one, I often urge people to buy locally. But after seeing the quality that B & B sent by mail I will be hard pressed to purchase bulbs from any other source.
The only way we were able to put in so many bulbs in an afternoon was by using a bulb auger. This attaches to an electric drill and with one person drilling and another popping in bulbs and covering them up, the work goes quickly.
Planting bulbs is such a good metaphor for the value of putting effort into something with the expectation, but not the guarantee, that you will enjoy something beautiful in the future. Placing the bulbs in the ground feels good, not because there are instant rewards, but because you are optimistic that there will be something wonderful in the future. How similar this is to the things we do in daily life that don’t give us immediate gratification. When we go out of our way to compliment or praise others, are loving with our children, or plan a nice surprise for a loved one, we are planting for the future.
We plant bulbs in the fall, just as most plants are dying or going dormant for the winter, yet we do so in anticipation of the season of renewal. While I put the bulbs in the ground this fall I think that as other areas of my life go into dormancy or decline I want to look for opportunities to plant, always in expectation of a glorious spring.