One of the drawbacks of the dogtooth grass is that it stays brown until the ground reaches a temperature of about 55 degree Fahrenheit. That means that everyone else's lawn will turn green and lush in April or so, and we'll still be waiting for another month. My aunt's strategy to combat brown grass? Crocus, hyacinth, naturalizing tulips, and any other low-growing spring bulbs she could dig out of her own garden and send my way. The idea is that the grass will still be brown, but under a sea of spring flowers.
|Oops. That would be a fall crocus, in the planting beds. Double wrong.|
My aunt has been generously giving hundreds of bulbs to me. I don't know exactly how she has the time or the energy to dig them out of her garden, shift them from the dirt and rocks and put them in bags for me. About two months ago, my uncle, her husband, was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer relapse. It is less than 2 years since he went through the first round of chemo and a stem cell transplant. Mantle cell lymphoma. There's not a cancer anyone wants to get; this one is particularly unkind. My uncle has chosen to do a Phase I Drug Trial instead of returning to chemo. Here is how the NIH defines Phase I Drug Trials: "Researchers test a new drug or treatment in a small group of people for the first time to evaluate its safety, determine a safe dosage range, and identify side effects." Later, in Phase II, researchers determine whether or not the drug is effective.
So, those bulbs. Bags and bags and bags of bulbs. At first, my aunt tried to sort them and identify them by type. She bought a book about bulb flowers at Goodwill and thumbed through the pages gesturing at different pictures and different bulbs while I restrained Trixie from sampling them as snacks. We tried to employ the boys in sorting them by type. Then we gave up and simply sorted them by size. The smallest bulbs go in the lawn she told me, the bigger bulbs in the planting areas. And after my aunt gave me hundreds of bulbs, I bought MORE. Just in case. I'm determined to get them in the ground. Determined that they won't sit in my garage and decay. Determined that I give them the best possible soil and phosphate and whatever else they need to bloom in the spring. I can't be the limiting factor in this project. Bulb flowers over brown grass may not be everyone's idea of the ideal lawn. But when and if they bloom, they could still be beautiful.