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In a burst of energy and inspiration, I managed to get a bout of garden work in yesterday. I put in about 90 bulbs out front, so many of my efforts won’t be visible (mostly) until Spring (mother earth willing).

First up is starflower (ipheion uniflorum) which has been planted in patches along the front retaining wall alongside cheery yellow dwarf iris and allium moly. I’ve been wanting to experiment with iris and I’ve had good luck with alliums of all kinds recently, so they seemed like the perfect companions to the dainty starflowers. If all goes well, I’ll have banks of color along the sidewalk come Spring!

While researching the bulbs to write this post, though, I read that the two things that will surely kill starflower is clay and wet winter soil – both of which I have in abundance. I suppose it’s too late now – I’ll just have to see if there are any hardy survivors out there.  The good news is that it’s not supposed to rain again for a several days.

In other news, if you want a good core workout, try planting bulbs.

The real reason I had planned to get out into the garden was to get my sky pencil hollies into the ground. I bought two of them back in early October, when the hardware store was having a sale. My garden needs more mid-sized shrubs, especially those with a little verticality, so these seemed ideal for flanking the front steps by the sidewalk. They also make me think of cypress trees, so it’s like a reminder of Italy here in Virginia.

I got them in the ground just in time, since last night we had a deep freeze which would have really stressed them had they remained in their containers above ground.

And, finally, because I can’t go to a garden store without buying a plant (and no, bulbs don’t count, they’re only proto-plants) I found myself a beautiful flowering quince bush! I look forward to these blooming every year – I took the picture below years ago, back in my old neighborhood, and have been aching for one of my very own ever since. I even tried to grow one from seed, but that experiment failed. I rescued my little gal from the bleak pallet at the garden center and got those roots in the ground yesterday. Oh, please please please let her live through Winter!