From the time Bear was a very little girl, we played a game which we call “I love you more than . . . .” The rules of the game are very fluid, and I don’t remember how it started, but it always tickled her into belly laughs and sometimes, oohs and aahs. It goes like this:
“I love you more than sunflowers love the sun.”
“Well, I love you more than shoes love shoelaces.”
“Mommy, I love you more than your hands love gardening gloves.”
“Bear, I love you more than tires love asphalt” (We own a paving company after all.)
As you can see, the sillier the better. A word association game made of the animate and inanimate which need each other. We played it as I drove her to school, to tae kwon do classes, to buy groceries, or to the plant store. We still occasionally play it as a joke, although she is really too old for it now.
Our game came to me today while I bought a few bulbs. Okay, I bought a lot of bulbs. As you know, I have a little party of 30 to 40 family members each Easter. The food menu never changes, because all families have their favorites. However, each spring, outdoors, I try to outdo what I’ve done the year before, and bulbs are a large part of the decor. Starting in fall, I dream of better combinations and more unusual ones. The relatives seem to get a kick out of it, and I get a kick out of them. I stagger the bloom time buying bulbs which bloom early, mid and late because I never know what an Oklahoma spring will bring. Will it be hot and dry, causing the blooms to finish early, or will it be cool and wet, making them linger? Further, Easter is a movable feast on the calendar based upon the moon so I also take that into consideration.
Bulb buying has another purpose. Right now, if you live in Oklahoma, I’m guessing that unless you’re a diehard, you’re a bit tired of the gardening season. The ragweed is blooming right on schedule, and if you aren’t exhausted by the heat and humidity, you’re walking around with a permanent headache from allergies. After summer (which we are still in no matter what the schools think), there is a gradual cool down, along with some rainfall, which brings out the best in the garden. However, you may still be recuperating from the work you put into the vegetables or the flowers. I bet you even occasionally dream of the end of mowing, winter coming and the great rest.
I believe that’s why people in Oklahoma don’t always buy bulbs. Sure, hybrid tulips are expensive annuals, but daffodils and many other bulbs return year after year. After that long winter nap, you will be begging for color. There’s something essential to the human psyche about seeing new, green growth peeking its head out of the mulch and then moving rapidly on to outrageous flower. If you want drama, try something new, something you’ve never grown before like Narcissus ‘Maria’, Fritillaria persica, or Allium ‘Ambassador’.
“I love you like the flowers love the rain.”
So, buy yourself some bulbs, and buy the good ones. Go to a site like Brent & Becky’s Bulbs, Old House Gardens, or Southern Bulb Company where the bulbs are bigger and of better quality and get your garden something nice to wear next spring.