I planted bulbs today. Daffodils and hyacinth, snowdrops and cyclamen, tulips and lilies. I put in a few peony and daylily roots also. There was not much of any one thing, but then my flower gardens are small so I don’t need much of anything to make a big impact on the nose and eyes.
I was enamored of a black and white color scheme when I ordered the bulbs back before midsummer. Of course, there are no true black flowers. Most approximations are a dark red, but the irises approach black from the blue side of the color wheel. Both deep red and midnight blue are striking against whites and spring greens, and that contrast means you don’t need a lot of them to feel like the bed is full. The tulip mix was a bag of black Queen of the Night and a white lily-flowered tulip. They went in with white pheasant’s eye daffodils in the mint bed just outside the kitchen window. The scent ought to be exhilarating.
The hyacinths are in the bed along the back walk which opens onto the kitchen. So they should send their heady scents wafting into the kitchen as well. There aren’t black hyacinths, but there are deep purple. I went with lighter colors back there though. It’s a small space shaded with red cedar. Needs brightening. Plus the pale pastels should make the space feel bigger. Hyacinths are happy flowers, cheering up the dull beds of mud and leaf mould and melting snow in the waning winter.
Planting bulbs is spreading hope in the garden. All seeds require a leap of faith, but bulbs you plant before the winter begins and you won’t see them until the soil thaws again in the spring. The lilies won’t even come up until May, and you don’t get to inhale their intoxicating aromas until late July. A bulb is months of waiting with mounting impatience to see if your designs worked. Not all of them will live. Not all of them will survive the rodents, though I do go light on the tasty tulips and oriental lilies and heavier on the poisonous daffodils and snowdrops. And nobody seems to like hyacinths. Don’t know why. They’re no more toxic than tulips. And since they don’t like being planted too deep, they’re easy to get to whenever there is a thaw. But then, rodents have their own logic. Best not to inquire too closely.
In any case, I have to wait until at least late February to see the first of what I planted today break through the soil. For now they’re all buried, watered and set to sleep through the winter. And I have a garden of spring expectations to pull me through the cold, dark months that are closing in. I’ve planted the bulbs today, and my winter dreams will be scented with hope.
for 10 November 2021
You can respond in the comments below or make a Twitter post to the Wednesday Word. Either way, begin your response with #winter. Your response can be anything made from words. I love poetry, but anything can be poetic and you needn’t even be limited to poetics. An observation, a story, a thought. Might even be an image — however, I am not a visual person, so it has to work harder to convey meaning. In the spirit of word prompts, it’s best if you use the word; but I’m not even a stickler about that. Especially if you can convey the meaning without ever touching the word.
If responding in Twitter, you are limited to the forms of Twitter. I would prefer that there be no threads because that is difficult. So if you have something long, post it in the comments below. That said, please don’t go too long. Keep it under 2000 words. I’m not going to count, but I’m also not promising to read a novel. Unless it’s really good!
If I receive something particularly impressive, I’ll post it next week. If not, well, that’s fine too. I know you all are busy. But if you’ve read this far, then I’ve made you think about… winter.
memory of snow
she delights in these filigreed dreams cascades of cold kisses swirling through sentient moonbeams she tastes iron in the air daggers of selenite cleaving dull branches painting black needles in pale rainbows she hears the song of starlight the shrill rippling silence augur of argent mornings and long winter nights for forlorn owls she laughs at the memory while the skies drop cloud petals to cover her darkness
©Elizabeth Anker 2021