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it's that time again (but not, alas, bare roots)

10 years ago

The three enormous boxes sitting in the kitchen have gotten the entire tribe excited.....and just as well because if ever there was a time for family helping hands, the arrival of 2000+ bulbs surely qualifies. It sounds a lot but really isn't (although I suspect there will be groaning and swearing before we are finished) but there is a strategy here. First off, little narcissi, bluebells and wood anemones can be planted in the rides we have cut, without worrying too much about weed clearance. The plan is to let the bulbs grow up through the close cut woodland floor where they should flower just as we do the first sowing of grass seeds. We will cut them back, 6 weeks after fading foliage and keep the area cut close throughout the summer, thereby overpowering the weeds with strongly tillering grass seed. This is the only planning we have done, regarding adding flora to the woodland.....and does, I believe, stand a fair chance of success. Next year, we can add erythroniums, crocus and cammassia to the naturalising mix (and the totally gorgeous sprengeri tulips I sowed last year might have reached blooming maturity by then). Even the weather is co-operating, promising a damp week of rain followed by a clear 3 days for the planting - perfect! If we work in pairs, one on a bulb planter with one planting and covering, 4 of us can plant 8 bulbs a minute (we have 2,300) - 5 hours, spread over 3 days - no problem.
I usually aim to add 300 tulips (my favourites, especially the dainty and reliable species) or so to the allotment (there are around 3000 now) but this year, it is all about the woods.
A perfect start to the gardening year, I always think, since there are few deferred pleasures as delicious as the first spring bulbs, especially after a gloomy english winter.

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