After a weekend off I knew there was a long list of jobs that needed tackling before the weather turns. So first thing Monday I went up to the plot and pulled out the cutflowers. The Zinnias, Rudbeckias and Calendulas all went on the compost heap and I lifted the dahlias to put in the shed to dry off. I’ve just left a couple of Asters because the bees are still enjoying them.
I sowed some more green manure. The packet said it was ok to sow up until November so hopefully they’ll germinate. Although the daylength is shortening and it looks like we might have a frost this week the ground is still warm so hopefully that will be enough for germination. The weeds are certainly still growing.
And then the bulb planting started. I know all the books say you shouldn’t plant your Tulips until November to prevent them getting viruses but by November the weather normally makes it difficult to work the soil. Either it’s too wet or too hard after a frost. I’m always intrigued by the idea that you should plant your shallots on the shortest day, December 21st. Firstly, who has time 4 days before Christmas to be planting shallots and secondly, and most importantly, when are the conditions right for this to happen. Personally, if I was a shallot I wouldn’t appreciate being shoved in some cold wet soil.
Also, Wellyman has had cold all week, so anticipating that I might catch it I just thought I’d make the most of a sunny day and get planting. No Narcissi this year, we have quite a lot already but there was Anemone coronaria, Gladiolus colvillei ‘The Bride’, Tulipa hageri ‘Little Beauty’, Tulipa ‘Odalisque’ and some free bulbs Tulipa ‘Ronaldo’.
I planted the Anemone at the allotment after soaking them overnight. With all the bulbs I added a small handful of grit to the planting hole. My soil isn’t particularly clayey but we do get very wet winters so I think they’ll benefit from that bit extra drainage. I also planted the Gladioli at the allotment. They are a hardy species variety which make a good cut flower apparently.
I decided to buy some of the smaller species Tulips this year. I saw a lot at Abbey House Gardens last year (a must see for Tulip lovers) and loved them. I also read that they are more perennial than the bigger Tulips and will slowly form a colony.
I do love the bigger Tulips and some do come back year after year but most, I find, start to dwindle in numbers. I know some people treat them as annuals but I can’t bring myself to spend a lot of money on them every year. So I thought I’d give the species one a try but as a bonus I got a free gift of 15 Tulipa ‘Ronaldo’ which is a deep carmine red. I don’t like bulb planting. The soil is hard work in some parts of my garden but we had some rain the previous night which made the ground more workable. But all the hard work will pay off next spring with, hopefully, a beautiful display.
I got my bulbs from Sarah Raven. She trials all her varieties and gives good informative advice in her catalogue and online.