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The Transplanted Gardener: The dirt on bulbs

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To make my friends on the coasts understand the time difference with my adopted home in the Midwest, I have to explain it like this:

When it is noon in New York, it is 9 a.m. in San Francisco. And in Iowa, it is … 1953.

So, too, are the not-so-subtle differences in the seasonal gardening calendar:

In the bulb nirvana of the Netherlands, the daffs and tulips and yadda-yadda emerge and flower through perennial foliage and must deftly complement the colors of said perennials.

In central Iowa, bulbs emerge solo to a bleak landscape. I have only to pair the many bulb blossoms in my yard with, well, brown – mud and mulch are their not-so-painterly background.

So in the Netherlands, you have this:
An interplay of bleeding hearts, tulips, grape hyacinth and – what?– geranium? This hardly seems fair.

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And in my garden, you have this:

That would be an ornamental onion, one of many, standing in a field of, on  a wet day, chocolate, and, on a dry day, khaki. Sigh.

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