In Its Season


I have reclaimed my refrigerator. As any West Coast gardener knows – this is not about household tips. It’s about spring bulb planting.


Daffodil bulbs can safely go into the ground in November at the Homeward Bound Memorial Garden. Many even return when left to “over-summer.” But tulips, hyacinths, and others require special treatment. In our warm Valley, there is no such thing as cold storage. So the bulbs are lifted in very late spring and stored in the refrigerator – much to my husband’s disgust. New additions join them for about six weeks of pre-chilling before planting (which means very little room for Thanksgiving leftovers!). Then, in December, as the nights approach freezing, they finally make their way out of the fridge and into the ground. Actually, pots above the ground.


We learned the hard way just how yummy tender tulip bulbs are to burrowing bunnies.


More than 500 Daffodils, Tulips, Iris, Hyacinth, Muscari, Iris, Chionodoxa, and Scilla – some gifted (thank you Lynn and Greg!); some saved – are now safely in their winter garden spots – leaving ample room in the fridge for Christmas cookie dough. A mission accomplished over a couple of beautiful Fall days.



As rain is (hurrah!) on the horizon, I accomplished most of the annual raising of the beds this weekend, as well.


Water is graded away from the kennels and toward the garden at Homeward Bound. Best for the dogs – but not so good for our drought tolerant plantings.


To keep them from drowning, the beds – which have been well dog-trampled throughout the season – get raised each Fall with a mixture of compost and soil before they settle into winter slumber under the untrimmed remnants of Fall blossoms and fallen leaves. Nourishment for a bountiful spring.


Fall is as busy in the garden as spring – only the chores have a deadline determined by cold and rain.


Work done. Eyes dropping. Back aching. Time for a hot bowl of soup and a snuggling dog.


“Every blade in the field, every leaf in the forest, lays down its life in its season, as beautifully as it was taken up.” ~ Henry David Thoreau


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I am a nascent gardener, rescuer, and photographer, chronicling the journey of the dogs at Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary near Sacramento, CA - and the Memorial Garden we have devoted to them.

12 thoughts on “In Its Season”

  1. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your talents in the gardens with plants, pictures and philosophy. We are all richer for your efforts.

  2. I’ve had very little success with tulips, even when I do chill them in the freezer. My defaults are now narcissus, hyacinth, and Freesia. Apparently narcissus (daffodil) bulbs are toxic to squirrels so they don’t even dig them up! Isn’t it fun when spring rolls around seeing all those flowers pop up? Beautiful photos as always, Audrey.

    1. Freezer? Or refrigerator, Alys? I do the refrigerator. But we also have much colder nights here, I think. Tulips definitely need their cold spells. Narcissus apparently don’t taste good to bunnies either! Thank goodness!

      1. Oh silly me, I meant refrigerator. Our lows rarely drop to freezing with low forties being the norm. The first time I planted tulips, I put about 45 in the ground and only 30 or so came up. The following year it was down to 7.

  3. I chuckled when I read your blog, as I am almost done. Tomorrow will be my last day of planting my bulbs for the year. And I know what you mean about refrigerator space!! Don’t forget your promise to come and see our garden in the spring. Go make those cookies…

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