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Empress Daffodil, 1869

There are so many outside chores this time of year, it’s easy to get out of focus.

I go out to spread a new layer of fresh mulch to remember the need to plant my new Daffodil bulbs.  I plant the bulbs to remember the desire to  transplant my tender herbs into containers; when freezing temperatures hit, I plan to move my herbs to the basement so I can continue to use them for winter cooking .  So I get that done to notice the leaf debris nesting under the shrubs and perennials.  I clean up the leaves to remember my desire to sow fall seeds, like Poppies and Larkspur and Delphinium.  And by the time I finally get to the mulch, it’s almost too dark to spread it.  Daylight Savings Time is spent.

This morning, rather than continue with my backyard mulching project, I decided to shift gears and head out to the front to rake leaves.  Our old neighborhood is full of tall deciduous trees — Sycamores, Elms, Sweetgums and Oaks — and right now, it’s the season of raining leaves.  If I don’t rake, the leaf cover can suffocate Cinderella’s fescue lawn.  So today I’ve raked 390 gallons of leaves!  And we still have a good four more weeks of leaf fall with another 1000 gallons of leaves. I should be in shape in time for winter.  

In the meantime — terribly out of shape and with the last two day’s work — I’m exhausted.  So after deciding to call it ‘quits’ for today, I let myself  into the back yard to put up the leaf blower.  I take a few steps up the driveway and run straight into one of my brand new daffodils  —  one of  three I planted yesterday afternoon — sitting on the driveway, naked and alone.  Left for dead.

However, to say Daffodil doesn’t quite tell the whole story.  This Daffodil is no regular big box store bulb.  I have those too. They were not disturbed.  No, the bulb I found sitting on the driveway was a rare Empress Daffodil, —  a plant introduced shortly after the Civil War  —  one of this year’s garden splurges that I ordered from Old House Gardens.0708CatalogThumb

I surmise Cosmo (my Holy Terror who’s been known to dig holes in the garden) was my Daffodil tomb raider.  And knowing Terriers as I do, I know that there’s no use beginning  a civil war that can’t be won.  So I pick up my little bulb, and with freshly manicured nails, but without gardening gloves, I quickly dig a new hole for my rare little beauty. 

For now, the little Empress is safe and sound from Scottie attacks.  And with luck, she’ll stay that way and I’ll not see my rare Daffodil again until it’s time for Spring’s resurrection.  If only Cosmo will turn over a new leaf and become a patient gardener.

Somedays, I do feel like I live in a cartoon.