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The 726th bulb

November 29, 2012
By Stephanie Bethke-DeJaeghere , Marshall Independent

My youngest son came to me and held out his hand, with a look of trepidation that he for sure was really going to hear "it" from his mom. In his hand, he held the 726th tulip bulb that we had to plant yet this fall.

Yes, it is true that way back when, I was discussing with you the little more than 200 plus bulbs that I had planted and how excited we were when the phone rang. Just before Thanksgiving, a good, dear friend called and had many, a lot, a ton of bulbs sitting in his garage and would I like to have some.

As many of you know, I rarely turn down any plants. I have purchased many of my own but I can also walk through my flower gardens and give you a running tabulation of who has given what to me and why. There are a lot of stories behind many of the plants that I have in my garden, of which many have been with me for many, many years now. So, of course, I was thrilled, especially since my young daughter really loves tulips. I believe it is her favorite flower.

I think she appreciates having some springtime color just as much as I do after a dull, somewhat lifeless winter has come and gone. She has taken up the walk about which means going through the gardens starting sometime in March, looking for plants that are coming up. This year will be an especially big treat for her and the rest of my family.

We planted just about every different kind of spring flowering bulb there is available.

They are planted in every garden, in every nook and in the lawn. They are planted around the trees, the rocks and along the driveway except one. For some reason, he had placed the bulb in his pocket, probably because I ran through three cordless drill batteries planting all of the bulbs, and he was on his way to find his dad to get some advice on what to do next for his mom. The bulb has sat since on the counter with just about all of us looking and commenting on it. For some reason, not a single one of us has been able to plant that bulb - yet.

There has been some discussion about keeping it and forcing it into bloom this winter, but after I went through the instructions with the kids on what they would have to do in order to get the one bulb to bloom, they thought otherwise of the whole ordeal.

The three months sitting in the refrigerator in the crisper drawer, in a potted pot or bag of soil for some reason seemed like either a demeaning way to plant the last bulb or it seemed like too much work. It was probably the latter. The use of a hand- held, battery-operated drill (cordless) was the piece of the pie that we needed the most and it made short work of the whole process.

Despite the windy weather conditions, it only took two days and working about two hours each day, to get it all done. Now, we wait. And, wait, until the first signs of spring arrive once more and we will have (we hope) flowers springing up all over our yard and garden.

And, what is going to happen to the bulb of question? Well, the weather is supposed to be really nice this weekend. I think we will plant that tulip right out in the front yard, in the place of honor where we can watch the 726th bulb of spring, blossom into a grand spectacle of which what we call springtime.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at



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