Snowdrop success, I hope!
Having dutifully ordered my 2,000 snowdrops bulbs, one of the final conditions of my planning permission at Gamekeeper's Lodge being that I underplant the woodland with 4,000 bluebells and snowdrops, not a condition that I mind about as come the New Year and Spring they will be looking beautiful and signalling the start of growth in 2021. There are already many snowdrops in the woodland, most of which I split and replant in the green as all the websites advise with snowdrops. As a result, when its cold and frosty these delicate white, tiny and yet somehow majestic flowers lift my spirits as I walk Charlie before work on those cold February mornings.
So I was somewhat gutted, when having finished with blisters on my palms after heading out for two hours every evening to get the 2,000 bluebells in, to find that I should, have actually started with the snowdrops.
Apparently these are best planted immediately on arrival from the supplier and you really shouldn't let them dry out (a little note in the packaging from the supplier, maybe in BOLD type would have been helpful here!) The bulbs were definitely dry, since they had been sitting in my rather warm utility room for a month (I thought this was better than going mouldy in the damp garage, which is what happened to last years supply when it rained all October and November and I frankly didn't fancy getting soaked planting woodland bulbs in a mud bath!)
Letting them dry out is testament to NO success, don't even bother several websites suggested. However, I did read that soaking them for 4 hours in cold water and then popping them in a pile of compost whilst you wait to be ready to plant might possibly save the little bulbs...in vain (they cost £300) I decided to plunge them in water for hours a couple of Sundays ago and then chucked them all in a potato grow bag with layers of compost around them.
So imagine my surprise, when today, having taken them over to the woodland walkways assuming I was clearing and planting in vain to find that all of them had roots and LIFE in them yet.
With my avid helpers, Red the Chicken and Charlie my faithful Cockapoo, we got to work. Nettles and invasive buttercups were cleared. Baby hawthorns, holly and elder were given space to grow and marked with canes (so that I don't cut them off with my hasty strimmer in the Spring!). Leaves were piled into pathways ready to chop up with the Ferris (my ride on mower) and take to become leaf mould. Sticks were collected and made into shelters for hedgehogs, field mice and any other passing animal that I hope might find a welcome and safe place to stay a while over Winter.
At the end of a long Sunday in the woodland, half of them are in. There are plenty of leaves in the canopy overhead still to fall and provide protection in what will hopefully be a cold crisp winter ahead. Meanwhile, it's time for a well earned sloe gin by the fire.