Branden’s sweater looks about the same this week as it did last. I’ve knit another 6 inches, but it’s in the bunched-up stage of a raglan sweater where you can’t really tell that anything is happening and the rows just keep getting longer. The increase section is up to 11 inches now (of the 14 that I need in the end), so I should be to the sleeve split soon.
In the meantime, I’ve been planning for spring.
We’ve had our first snow flurries of the season (about a quarter inch, last weekend), and overnight temperatures are getting into the low 30’s. Most of the garden is dying back, which means that it’s the perfect time to plant bulbs for spring. That’s one of the things I love most about gardening – at the end of one season, you can always start preparing for the next.
They say this winter is supposed to be a long and cold one, so it felt like an act of quiet rebellion to go out and tuck 150 little bulbs snugly into the cold soil. Most bulbs need to spend some time in the cold or they won’t come up at all, so it’s good to plant them when the soil temperature has dropped but before frosts make it hard to work the soil. Some of the bulbs even have a tiny white bump beginning; a sprout set already, patiently awaiting spring. I didn’t realize that they set their spring growth so early; no wonder they’re ready to go the moment that the snow gives way!
There’s something encouraging in the determined optimism of a plant setting its spring growth before winter even begins. It’s kind of a vote of confidence that it will make it through the cold and darkness to come. My hydrangea has all its spring buds already, and when I transplanted the Solomon’s seal and bleeding hearts a few weeks ago they also had tiny white leaves already starting to form.
Of course, less than an hour after I’d finished planting the bulbs, there were already several holes in the garden bed courtesy of the local squirrel. (I’m sure he was watching from his tree the whole time, just waiting for me to go inside.) He got a couple of bulbs before we put the chicken wire out, but hopefully that will keep him at bay long enough for the ground to settle and for him to forget that they’re there. I have to say that I have a lot less sympathy for the summer-fattened squirrel than I did for the bunny who nibbled the first of my greens this year!
Of course, knowing squirrels, there’s a good chance that he’ll plant the bulbs he steals somewhere else and forget about them, so maybe we’ll have some fun surprises come spring.
There are a few tulips to plant and a couple more plants to move, but other than that, things are mostly tucked up and ready for the winter. It’s nice to know that everything is set for an early spring celebration…provided that the squirrel keeps his little paws out of my flower beds!