Friends Reunite In The Garden

This weekend, I hosted a reunion of sorts — removing  tender bulbs out of storage and reintroducing them to the garden.

Newly planted elephant ears. They started to sprout while in storage.

Each fall, right before the first frost, I cut back my tender plants, dig them up, cure them, and place them  in paper bags along with peat moss to cover.  It’s actually a tough thing to do.  The plants are still full of life.  We’ve spent so much time together.  And then I have to be the mean girl, decimating the friendship just when they thought they could trust me.  Cold and heartless doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface.

Once hacked and packed, I carry them into the bomb shelter.  My house was built in the ’60s, and behind a closet and under the front steps, there is a cement crawlspace, a bunker which we refer to as the bomb shelter.  It’s cool and dry all winter, conditions that allow the tenders to go dormant.

My effort to trick nature and turn Long Island into a summer tropical paradise began several  years ago when a friend gave me a brown paper bag with canna rhizomes.  She said just keep them in the garage and plant them in the spring.  That didn’t work.  The garage was too cold and too damp, and when spring arrived, I had a bag of smelly and shriveled canna. Continue reading