ANNE C. HEYMEN: Just how long will a bulb wait for soil?

Any day now, I’m expecting a rebellion in my garage. It will be the revenge of the caladiums.


In years past, my green-thumbed neighbor, Belle, and I have joined together to purchase said caladiums from the Pilot Club. We have a great agreement. I count out the 50 bulbs for each of us, and she plants them in my yard and hers.

This year, I decided enough was enough. Planting my own caladiums was on my bucket list. Update: It still is. Being the shrewd gardener I am not, I decided 12 bulbs would be a gracious plenty for me. Belle, of course, got loads and they’re blooming brightly.

I, on the other hand, have eight bulbs remaining in the purchase bag. As I said, I ordered 12. Then I had the brilliant idea to plant four in a handsome pot and gift friend Rayma, in celebration of her move back into her Davis Shores home which, last fall, was occupied by that bad boy Matthew. It wasn’t hard to plant the four. For one thing, I had potting soil which I had purchased several years ago. The hard part was getting the package open after all those years. I also had the handy little utensils that go with the potting soil, including, a nifty watering can. The utensils, like the potting soil, were virgin, so to speak — never before used.

So I planted the bulbs and gifted Rayma. The one bad thing about caladiums, as far as I’m concerned, is this non-gardener doesn’t know which end is up. As a result when I plant a caladium you can hear it panting when it finally reaches daylight. So when one bulb popped up, its beautiful red leaf waving in the breeze, I was a proud mama.

Time passed. The rains came, the rains went, and the one caladium bulb stood guard over Rayma’s house. Then Rayma had to go away for a week, and friend Kay was in charge. That’s when the phone rang.

“Anne, I have good news,” Kay reported. “You’re a mama again. A second caladium has appeared!”

So that’s two down and two to go.

Meanwhile, back in my garage — every time I glance in the direction of an ice chest which is sitting near the door into the kitchen I see a little white bag on top. Inside are eight caladium bulbs just waiting for some delicious potting soil. So, here’s the problem. I’m pretty sure that very, very soon they’ll be tired of waiting. That’s when, I suspect, they’ll march right out of the garage and plant themselves somewhere I don’t want them to be. So I really have to get moving.

In the meantime, some caladiums from last year have resurfaced. Unfortunately, the flower bed in which they reside is becoming weed-infested once again. Neighbor Peter is my weeder.

“How’s the flower bed?” he inquired over the 4th of July.

“It has weeds again,” I replied.

“Well, I’ll have to do something about that” was his response.

Peter’s a good neighbor, especially, when you consider his motto: “Will work for sausage pilau!”

Anne C. Heymen was associated with The St. Augustine Record for 49 years in total before retiring in February 2014 as features editor. Her column runs in The Record on alternate Saturdays.