This past weekend, I visited Cindy’s garden. Like me, she lives in Upstate New York, near Syracuse. Cindy has been buying plants from my nursery for well over 15 years and gardening for even longer. She started as a customer and became a friend. She has a very kind heart. Years ago now, when my husband was sick, she would bring him baked goods to help keep his weight up. After he went to heaven, she started coming down to the farmer’s market and hanging out with me, helping customers with her gardening experience and giving me the chance to take a break. She has been a great friend and it has been fun over the years to watch her little by little, plant by plant as she has learned which flowers grow the best in her yard.

Now, even though her yard is small, Cindy has found ways to keep her garden in bloom throughout the growing seasons. She has crafted an ever changing tapestry of color and I want to take a look at how she goes about it. This is only the first visit to Cindy’s garden. During the course of the summer, I will be making monthly trips to visit this garden and write about the beauty I find there.

Right now, spring bulbs provide the primary burst of color. Bulbs have, well, bulbous root systems, similar in shape to onions or a traditional light bulb. Rounded at the base and somewhat pointed at the top. Most other perennial plants have fibrous root systems, which are fine textured and delicately branch out into the soil. Both types of roots can coexist very near to one another. The fibrous roots simply branch around them and are unbothered by the presence of the bulbs.

So, the bulbs come up with their vibrant glory and by the time the foliage of the perennials is large enough to overtake them, the bulbs have finished flowering and begun to go dormant.