Saturday, March 05, 2011

Defense in depth

Back in the day, when I was struggling with the Spartan children model of British university education, typologies of crossbow brooches, and living quarters warmed by a single coin-operated electric heater, I ran across Edward Luttwak's provocative book, The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century AD to the Third.  The basic thesis of this book was that by the fourth century, the Roman army had abandoned a forward defense along its imperial frontier and instead employed a military strategy called "defense in depth." This involved delaying barbarian attacks, in part by dotting the countryside with minor forts.  (Remember that opening battle scene in Gladiator? Those guys weren't interested in stopping for anything.)

I'm implementing my horticultural version of defense in depth here.  To combat these last days of winter, flowering plants are being forced throughout the house.  Those springs of forsythia last month are leafing and flowering in the living room.

A big tray of L'Innocence and Gipsy Queen hyacinths is set out on the dining room sideboard.

Last weekend, all the amaryllises were removed from their refrigerator dormancy, potted up, labelled, and stuck in an upstairs bedroom window.  The radiator should provide some warmth from below and spring should bring in more sunlight through this south-facing window.  Here's hoping!

And always, and on any spare surface, there are Ziva paperwhites.  And more Ziva bulbs tucked away in a cool dark closet, waiting for their roots to form before being brought out into the light.

I know that my side is going to win.  Eventually.

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