This is one of my favourite times of the year, bringing with it space for considered reflection on what’s gone before, informed planning for the year to come, moments of hibernation in front of the fire, and a sense of peace and tranquility. Even the B road through the village is silent – at four o’clock in the afternoon, that’s unheard of at any other time of the year. Quiet. Stillness. Bliss.
It’s also a great time for pottering, with a measure of rootling thrown in, and while engaged in these mutually compatible activities in a corner of the shed I unearth a stash of bulbs I bought in autumn but haven’t got round to planting yet – hyacinths and narcissus, which really should have been in the ground months ago. I’m rarely too distraught at the discovery that I’ve missed the proper time for sowing or planting something, which is just as well, as such epiphanies occur with a regularity that a more delicate soul might find discouraging. A long-term subscriber to the school of bung-it-in-and-see-if-it-works-anyway, I choose to look upon this as an opportunity, rather than another reason to berate myself, and dash off to get the metal planters I bought last week when I was supposed to buying Christmas presents for other people.
Fortunately for me, bulbs need little mollycoddling between lifting (or buying) and flowering; it’s the period between flowering and dormancy when they really benefit from a bit of TLC, as they build up their store of energy for the next year’s display. Several weeks of cold and dark in a dry corner of the shed haven’t done them any harm – spring bulbs need a period of chilling (or ‘vernalization’) in order to trigger the formation of flower buds, and also to encourage rooting. These neglected specimens all appear firm and healthy, with no sign of rot and a couple of centimetres of healthy looking leaf poking through the tops meaning, if nothing else, that even I should be able to work out which way up to plant them.
|It only takes a few seconds to drill drainage holes in these metal planters|
|Hyacinth bulbs. I spy small rooty things growing out of the basal plate. Hurrah!!|