Spring bulbs – 2020 style!

It is very wet and in places water-logged out there. We got some bulbs for planting last Nov/Dec from the Bulbs for London charity and they contacted me today for photos of how the bulbs looked like this spring. Whether it is the very mild winter, or the abnormal amount of rain we have been having recently, but the bulbs this year are struggling rather to put on their very best show. The crocus and snowdrops we planted last year have not made much of an appearance and the tulips are yet to show. But here, for the record, and also for our benefactors, are some photos just taken (on a very wet and windy day), mostly of daffodils.

Firstly, the location (with three points of interest). The numbered locations are (1) the bulb glade (2) the orchard garden and (3) the new ponds, the last two of which have now appeared in these maps. I am using here the excellent OpenStreet Map, where re-use of the maps such as here is allowed (I am not sure about such use for eg Google)

The bulbs themselves have been out for a couple of weeks, and there are hopefully still the tulips to come.  One thing you learn when you plant bulbs is that you start with a large and heavy bag of the things,  and after about 2-3 hours of back-breaking pile driving (the best tool is not a bulb planter you get from garden centres but a heavy long metal spike you can get from places such as Wicks) and planting around 400-500 of the things, you end up with a relatively sparse display.  To really make an effect, you probably need to plant at least 10,000 (if not more).  I recollect a few years back hearing that Kew Gardens  (which we are lucky enough to  have fairly close by) had planted about 4 million crocus. Even that number does not look excessively large when you see them flowering!

The planting last December was supposed to be a top-up of the first planting a year earlier. You will notice in the photos a lot of bulbs have leafs only, which for a relatively recent planting is a surprise; they were meant to be naturalised bulbs after all. We hope to continue planting bulbs in this area for another year or so, but the whole purpose of naturalised bulbs is that they should start propagating on their own.  If they all revert to leaf,  then  I guess we have to take a closer look at the soil and other environmental influences.

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