Falling leaves is Summer waving goodbye

Joan writes:

Sweet pea picking has slowed to a standstill, and my attention is now turning to the little piles of leaves that would now appear to be the thing needing picked!

But, with autumn leaf fall comes the autumn activity of spring bulb planting. That’s far more inspiring and enjoyable.

I grow loads of bulbs in pots which I lift after flowering and attempt to label and store ‘properly’ over the summer months before planting up again in Autumn. I’m not always successful but I enjoy the task, and especially if I manage to get some of the new varieties of tulip to flower for several years before they (or I) give up the ghost.

Given the demand that I encounter with my handful of tubs, bulb growing on a commercial scale fascinates me. I had a really interesting conversation with Richard from Taylors Bulbs recently and learned much about the history of this well established firm. And of the year round production cycle. Their website is well worth a visit if you are interested in learning more about bulb planting and care, and indeed, the story of their family business.

Closer to home here in Scotland, we have Grampian Growers. Covid-19 and its lock down in early Spring had a devastating effect on our Scottish bulb growing industry. Thankfully, bulb lifting was enabled and hopefully they will now be distributing their harvested bulbs world wide for millions to enjoy. You can read more about their tough Spring 2020 time here.

https://www.thescottishfarmer.co.uk/news/18384480.green-light-daffodil-growers-export-bulbs/

I have a friend who hails from the Highlands, and she often speaks about visits to a friend’s farm when she was a child, and being in awe of the ‘miles’ of daffodils. And I cannot think of daffodils without remembering William Wordsworth’s lines, ‘when all at once I saw a crowd, a host of golden daffodils’. Crowds and hosts of daffodils? For some fabulous images of FIELDS of daffodils, and to learn more about Grampian Growers themselves, have a look at

https://www.grampiangrowers.co.uk/daffodil-flowers-and-bulbs/

But back to my own much smaller scale bulb growing activity. Despite ‘saving’ bulbs from one year to the next, I always top up with a fresh supply. So needs must, and a visit to the plant nursery yesterday did not disappoint in the selection available. Here are a few images to whet your appetite for what will be available locally to you I am sure.

So what did I purchase? I am thin on the ground (pardon the pun) for bulbs growing beneath trees. Snowdrops are the most welcome sight as they peek their delicate wee faces through, announcing that the back of winter is broken. I spotted the double snowdrop and a few of them found their way home with me. Snowdrops are notoriously slow to develop and show green growth but do eventually flower in a few years time. I will just have to dig in some patience when planting them.

I worked on the plant nursery for several years and the large cupped, frilly edged, orange trumpeted daffodil ‘Juanita’, always caught my eye. Several of them made it into my basket. Intoxicated by the bounty of bulbs on offer, I fell foul of superb marketing and succumbed to a new variety of Tulip. ‘Tarda Interaction’ is dwarf with variegated leaves and selected for woodland and shade. Sorted.

It’s a right blustery day here. I think I will leave the leaves to blow next door and bulb planting outdoors can be swapped for some lighter table top gardening and sort out my ‘stored’ bulbs. I’m sure I did label them all as I lifted them in May…..?!

Any effort exerted over the next few weeks will be well rewarded when Spring arrives. I see the anticipation of bulbs almost as good as their actual appearance.

Happy Gardening! Joan

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