I have an obsession with collective nouns; murmurations of starlings, murders of crows etc and I think if ever there was a collective noun to apply to bulbs it should be an investment of bulbs, or perhaps in my case, a surprise of bulbs.
Bulbs just give so much, year after year, and they require little care and they will, with a little luck, self propagate, spreading over time to form the ranked armies of blooms so beloved of the landscape photographer and the gardener.
As I am trying to rebuild my garden here I am planting too many things to remember exactly what and where and so each morning inspection has lead to the discovery of new arrivals, boldly pushing up through my stony soil and doing their very best in less than perfect conditions.
From the earliest of arrivals, the blue and white of “glory of the snow” Chinodoxia to the wonder of tulips in their endless variety – this year I have the early flowering variety “Christmas” and the rather more glamorous double variety ‘Schoonoord’ – to the anemones that give such value for money flowering three times a year here in Pembrokeshire to the strangeness of Alliums, all of which are about to flower.
Bulbs really are the most optimistic of things, bringing such joy to spring mornings when winter seems to have lasted forever.
This year the fritillaries have managed to bloom, the bluebells I planted “in the green” last year look to have settled in around the base of the giant old sycamore in the front garden and I expect great things from them in a few weeks. The ever robust, ever spreading wild garlic is going to be spectacular, a sea of delicate white foamy heads, in just a few more days, although that’s nothing to do with me, it did it all on its own.
Next autumn I will add to the bulb plantings and like last year I will promise myself I will make a written note of what I planted where, or then again, maybe I won’t, because the daily surprises are wonderful.Along with the bulbs there have been other surprises, this female Emperor Moth, just out of the cocoon and still exhausted with the strain of it all stopped for a photo opportunity on one of the old urns by the front door. She was beautiful in the sunlight, huge and so distinctively marked. It was kind of her to stay still long enough to be photographed as normally she is a night creature.