The autumnal rite of planting bulbs holds the promise of spring beauty. As we fall into the season of senescence and dormancy, many think the window for planting spring bulbs has closed - but it hasn’t. Early November is actually a good time to plant in southeastern Wisconsin.
The optimum time to plant is when soil temperatures have dropped to around 55 degrees. In a normal year, this happens in early October and extends into November. Last month was the warmest October on record, which means soil temperatures are also warmer than usual.
For us procrastinators, this is good news! There is time to get tulips, daffodils, and other spring bulbs tucked into the ground. And here’s a secret not many know: as long as the ground hasn’t frozen, you can plant! If you can get a shovel into the ground, you can dig, drop, and get it done. Granted, bulbs will perform best next spring if their roots have had time to develop this fall, but bulbs are full of stored carbohydrates which is enough energy to push out leaves and flowers next spring.
TIPS FOR PLANTING
Keep the following in mind as you plant:
THREE UNUSUAL BULBS
The world of bulbs is vast, so go beyond the classic red and yellow tulips and yellow daffodils. Here are three of my current favorites:
* Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’, also known as Summer Snowflake, is a snowdrop on steroids. It grows 24” tall and 24” wide and blooms mid spring.
* Allium ‘Purple Sensation’ adds whimsy to the garden with it’s large purple flower heads. I prefer this one to others for two reasons: it’s the first Allium bulb to bloom and the seed heads stay green when picked as a dried flower.
* Narcissus ‘Bella Estella’ is not just another white and yellow daffodil. The name translates to ‘Beautiful Star’ and bears two flowers on one stem. But her best feature is her fragrance!
No matter which bulbs you choose to plant, you aren’t just planting bulbs - you are planting potential and hope. A few minutes spent now leads to several weeks of enjoyment when next spring’s colorful display rewards you.
The sun sets quickly as I bundle up and head outside. Tonight will be our first hard frost and I have zinnias to gather. Snip. Snip. They were beautiful this year, lasting well into November. I think of all the butterflies that lingered on each blossom gathering sweet nectar. Snip. Snip. I've been watching with fascination how cut-flower farmers like Erin Benzakien @ Floret Flowers and Tiffany Jones @ Blomma Flower Farm gather seed to breed new varieties of zinnias. It has inspired me to save seed for the simple act of planting them again next year. Snip. Snip.
As I gather armfuls of zinnias, I consider how November is a month for gathering. We gather the harvest of pumpkins, squash, and any cole crops that remain in the garden. We gather warm coats, hats, and gloves for the impending cold. We gather firewood for the fireplace, and then we gather around it's warmth. But most of all, in November, we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving. A day set aside to pause and reflect on the abundance of blessings we have. If you've been following me here on the Naturally Bella Journal, you are well familiar with how I feel about recognizing small blessings found in every day living. They are present in every day - good or bad. In every situation, in every moment, there is something to be grateful for. Opening our eyes to the small, seemingly insignificant blessings is powerful! It can lift us out of depression, fight off anxiety, and leads to contentment and joy. Each blessing is a gift. As a believer, I know that each gift comes from above. Each gift is a reminder of how much we are loved by our heavenly Father.
If we are honest with ourselves, our blessings overflow into abundance. Don't you love that word? Abundance. It means having an excess of something. Abundance feels like being rich, even without money. Standing out in the garden holding armfuls of zinnias made me feel like a wealthy woman. Recognizing this abundance of blessings can overwhelm us and touch the heart. It can move us to tears and even to our knees as we are lavishly showered with this undeserved love and grace. Have you ever experienced this?
There is a time to gather all those blessings, to recognize and name them, and to give thanks for them. But it doesn't stop there. Living a thank-filled life isn't only about the gathering. "Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts," - David O McKay.
Yes! Thankfulness leads to gratitude. Humbled by our abundance and compelled by His love, we show our gratitude by giving to others. Perhaps this is why Thanksgiving (the season of thanking) is followed by Christmas (the season of giving).
Through the act of thankful giving, we also experience abundance! This is the lesson of abundance. The more we give of ourselves, the more we are filled with intangibles like peace and joy. So this begs the question: how can I live an abundant life today? It is not in the gathering, it is in the scattering. It is in the giving as much as we can, that we receive more than we ever imagine.
I think about this as I'm sorting through zinnia seed heads. Scattering carries an element of randomness. We scatter seed letting it fall where it may. Out of this abundance of flowers that filled my small bit of earth, I'm thankfully gathering to gratefully scatter next spring. But I need to do more. I am compelled to do more. What if I give them away, so others can also experience their beauty and the joy they offer?
Let's begin with daily intentional giving, and scatter without limits.
This is how to live a truly abundant life.
1. List three things you are grateful for right now.
2. How do you define an abundant life?
3. Who do you know that has a need?
4. How can you become a gift to that person?
Hi, I'm Tracy - horticulturist, beauty-seeker, Word-lover, and blessed to be the owner of Bella Botanica. I also love to write about plants, gardening, and about my faith journey. Thanks for reading!