I would never say that I am a technophobe. I seem to have inherited my programmer father's ability to figure out almost any computerized gadget--and I wholeheartedly embrace the internet as a tool for communication and research. But there is another side of me that is less than pleased at the increasing technological framework on which our modern life is built. That side of me, for example, resisted getting a cell phone until this summer when my full time job threatened to get one for me. (They meant it as a carrot, but I viewed it as a stick.)
That side of me is also slightly dismayed that I am so much better at keeping track of my garden via this blog than I ever was at keeping a proper garden journal. But I do find that using technology helps me keep up with the garden chronicles better, and I feel that digital photography is at least partly to blame.
It's so much easier to plop your pack of bulbs right down onto the ground and click a little button than it is to write a long description of where exactly you planted Bulb X. Not to mention that you can easily find your digital photographs at all times if they have been saved in a specific folder on your hard drive.
This afternoon, I took many such photographic records as I finished planting all of my spring-blooming bulbs. Last year I planted only bold tulip combinations. This year I went a much less flamboyant with snowdrops, muscari, winter aconite, and the fragrant daffodil 'Geranium.' (I blame The County Clerk for the daffodil purchase, as I hate daffodils. I swear I do. But sometimes I get carried away by the enthusiasm of others.)
I have yet to find an allium that I don't like, and I planted several types of ornamental onions today. 'Ivory Queen' allium karativiense will push its thick leaves up through the edges of a silvery mat of woolly thyme, which in turn should show off its white flower puffs. Golden oregano will carpet the ground below the starbursts of allium schubertii. The rosy, short allium ostrowskianum may fool me into thinking that the 'Fuldaglut' sedum around it is blooming early. And a passalong purple globe allium (probably 'Purple Sensation') will bring early interest to the widening expanse of Japanese anemone in the front garden.
Bulb planting spots were not the only thing in the camera's lens today, however. I love working at ground level in both the spring and the fall, when the slanted rays of sunshine dance through low foliage and I am able to view the magic at close range.
This 'Silver Scrolls' heuchera shows off a flat gray-purple leaf color most of the year, but in the fall its rich burgundy underside sines through as if it wants to join the fall foliage show.
You can see how tiny the leaves of 'Chocolate Chip' ajuga are in comparison to the beech leaves that have dropped from the neighbor's tree. The dark, thick leaves look a lot more ethereal when backlighting shows off the green that their purple tinge usually hides.
I planted my snowdrops amongst this ajuga, hoping that neither will overwhelm the other. Ideally, the dainty combination will elegantly hold its own next to the white- and pink-flowering 'Pine Knot' hellebores.
I have determined that if I had a true woodland garden, tiarellas (like this 'Neon Lights') would be my downfall. I could forgo my beloved fancy heucheras, even, if I had generous drifts of tiarellas.
I adore their handsome, maple-esque leaves, jaunty white bottlebrush flowers and endlessly fascinating center inkblots. That some of them have additional spring or fall color is almost too much to ask from one plant.
I didn't let the fall colors and ground-level discoveries distract me too much, however: I managed to get all of my bulbs nestled safely in the ground. So tomorrow all that's left is to pack away the drying canna rhizomes (they finally got nipped by a patchy frost on Thursday) and harvest the last of the marjoram, tarragon and lemongrass. And then I'll be as ready as I can be for the possible snow that we may see midweek... although I admit that I could definitely use a little more autumn before winter rolls around!