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Can’t wait for the bulbs

The garden is looking very January. We’ve had a mild winter so far, not really any frost as such, although it’s early yet! In the autumn we planted a lot of bulbs, both in the garden and some in pots for indoors (hyacinths and amaryllis).

The hyacinths weren’t a great success – I think we maybe crowded them, or perhaps kept them out in the shed for too long at first, or maybe not long enough. Or perhaps we watered them too much or not enough. They have all (mostly) flowered, and were very fragrant while they lasted, but they quickly went brown and a couple were just very stunted from the start.

The amaryllis were also touch and go for a while. Although we watered them all the same, one was inexplicably waterlogged while the others seemed very dry. We tried growing them in the bay windows but they took ages to get going, so we moved them around from radiators to window cills, trying to give them the right balance of warmth and light. These were expensive bulbs and I went a bit mad by ordering five – thinking they’d be lovely to give to people. As it is, two of the pink ones have just peaked, and we gave one to my brother & sister in law last weekend. Here’s our champion (excuse the scruffy stake and string):


A second pink one is just coming out, and we still have two white ones on the verge of opening.

If we grow these again we’ll get some smarter stakes, probably metal, and grow the bulbs in bigger pots. I had to re-pot all of them when it became clear they needed more space. They are very strong and heavy plants, and the bamboo-and-string support we cobbled together wasn’t a great look.

Other bulbs are sprouting outdoors in beds and containers – we planted (in order of blossoming) a mix of snowdrops, daffodils, tulips and aliums, but at the moment they’re hard to tell apart. I think the aliums and snowdrops are the thin, stringy shoots and the daffodils and tulips shorter and stiffer. It’ll be lovely when they come out.

Bulbs in pot

Bulbs in raised beds

Bulbs in pots

Here you can see we planted bulbs in the raised bed where we grew sweetcorn and rocket. Behind in bed number 3 is the broccoli, looking a bit penned in and caterpillar-eaten, but producing some lovely purple heads already.

Bulbs in raised beds with Antonia

Meanwhile there have been forecasts of frosts in the coming days so I’ve protected the ceanothus and apricot with fleece. Last year the ‘beast from the East’ weather in late February turned the ceanothus brown and crisp, I thought we’d lost it. So I hope the fleece does some good and the plant isn’t too squished. The books say not to leave the fleece on long and to take it off when there’s no frost expected.

Ceanothus in fleece

I haven’t protected the blueberry as last year it seemed fine, but I’m a bit nervous about the apricot so that’s under wraps too.

Path at back of house with apricot under fleece

I think Bobby is looking forward to us getting out in the garden more, as he gets excitable as soon as we step outside.

Bobby by the summerhouse

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