Saturday, 24 February 2007

Bulbs thriving against all odds

Yesterday it was this little bunch of crocus that caught my eye instead of any visiting bird when I looked out my window. It was growing almost under my hedge - I don’t actually remember ever planting them! That really isn't surprising though as I don't exactly have a good track record with bulbs!


Why I hear you ask? Bulbs are simple. Plant them the right depth, that is crucial, and they will give you years of pleasure developing into lovely clumps as above. Well yes, that is the theory! But if you are a gardener like I am who is always moving plants around - their chances of survival drop quite significantly. Every time I lift plants the bulbs they get disturbed often getting buried deeper - never to see the light of day again! I have even taken photos to remind me where they are - and my garden really is not that big.

My front garden has a mulch of quartz gravel which works well as it gets absolutely baked in the summer and this helps retain the moisture for the plants to survive and also as it is light in colour it reflects the heat which keeps the soil cooler too. Yes, I know this is Scotland but honestly we do get our share of sunshine as well as the rain!

One other advantage of this gravel is that my collection of alliums is increasing very well as they are managing to seed themselves – without being disturbed too much by me! If you look closely in the photo above you will see the young alliums on the left behind the dark euphorbia. I am looking forward to seeing them eventually flower - I expect it may take three years but when they do they will be a fantastic show.

Last year I took out an insurance against bulb loss. After preparing an area for sowing lawn at the end of my garden I planted over three hundred bulbs – then I sowed my grass seed. I planted some crocus but it was mostly small species daffodils and another strong favourite of mine - fritillaries, snakes head and white ones. It was a lovely splash of colour at a dark end in the garden and I definitely will enjoy this for years to come. The crocuses are already flowering now as you can see above - but the best is yet to come!

The photographs, shown above, were taken in my garden on February 23rd 2007.

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