Saturday, 3 December 2016
It was time to plant some crocus, snowdrop, daffodil and tulip to boost the garden for the spring. I say that, but it was really time to plant the bulbs about a month ago.
General guidance is to plant between October and December. I know it's December now, but the challenge isn't so much that the bulbs won't grow (they were already sprouting) so much as the civil engineering required to get them into the ground.
I'd managed to pick a sub-zero day to attempt to plant them, knowing that over the next few days it will actually get colder. I tried the usual gardening implements, which just glanced off the ground. I think I only imagined sparks, but suffice to say it was all rock hard.
I've previously mocked a distant neighbour who sometimes drills into the ground to plant bulbs, but that would be one gadget too far.
Instead, I headed to the garden centre to get some compost. How difficult could it be to plant the bulbs in a lovely fresh covering?
I heard that 'neep' sound as I headed to the stacks piled in the open air in the garden centre. I could have worked out that this wasn't a great idea when the door to section had to be specially opened.
Sure, there were plenty of bags available, but rock solid frozen with the bags welded to one another with ice. I hopped between feet, fiddled with the trolley and I tried to look as if I was in the wrong aisle. I could see the man who runs the place looking at me but deciding not to intervene.
Undeterred, I found another type that seemed to be in a more sheltered spot and, yes, I could even lift the bags. Some felt squidgy in a not full of water or ice kind of way.
Then to drive back home with the bags stashed in the car. 24 hours of shelter before deployment and yes, the next day I was able to identify and plant the various bulb types. For my purposes the crocuses look like small electric transformers, snowdrops are tiny, daffodils are like little onions and tulips are thin skinned and white.
Either that or they'll all come up in the wrong place.