Thursday, May 06, 2010
Changing the Landscape
The grape hyacinth bulbs I got from my dad for my birthday one year have taken over. He was frustrated with me when he asked what I wanted for my birthday and all I said was, "bulbs." I have always loved the idea of putting something into the ground as the soggy, gray weather is setting in as a promise of the Spring to come. Every February and March when the new green shoots poke up from the saturated ground I catch my breath in anticipation. By the time the colors burst out of the crocuses and irises I'm hooked. To Dad, it was definitely not an exciting gift - a plastic bag of roots and onion-looking bulbs. To me, it spoke of possibility and the future. True to himself, he always got me what I said I wanted for my birthday, so when the box of tulips, daffodils and grape hyacinth bulbs showed up I was thrilled.
The first time I opened the bag of hyacinths I was surprised to see the collection of little white pearls inside. I was used to the bigger bulbs of daffodils and had never planted these before. I tucked them in to the soil surrounding my Japanese Maple near the front door of the house and forgot about them. Just after the crocuses bloomed, I noticed wide grass-like greens coming up and within a week the flower bed was a sea of purple flowers. Every year since, these little kick-ass bulbs have doubled and tripled themselves until this Spring when there were so many they were literally crawling over each other and popping up on top of the soil. Even though I pull out several handfuls every year to share with neighbors who want them, I still have more than I need so it's time to share on a larger scale.
We're having a garage sale this weekend with our neighbors and last week I sat and pulled hyacinth bulbs out, gently brushed the dirt from them and put them into small paper sacks. I attached fliers with planting instructions and am planning to give them away with every purchase tomorrow. Each bag has nearly 50 bulbs inside.
I considered charging for them, but it seems that the more precious something is, the more freely I want to share it. I have kept some for myself, but the idea that Dad's gift to me will soon be blooming all over the place brings me almost to tears. Asking people for money seems blasphemous. My payment will be that every time I drive through a neighborhood and see grape hyacinth blooming, I'll think of Dad and his love for me.