For some reason it slipped my mind. When bulb catalogs arrived in early autumn I set them aside, then did nothing. I usually scour them thoroughly, and of course get excited by one thing or several that are then planted by the start of November. This year, nothing. No bulbs were ordered, so none will be planted.
I regularly moan and grown that there’s no room to plant in this twenty-three year old garden, but there’s plenty of space for more bulbs. First, they take very little space. And, many can be planted under other plants so that more than one plant occupies a single space. Though the garden is nearly fully planted I’m pretty certain I could go on planting bulbs forever.
Late November and early December are not ideal for planting, but it’s not too late for planting bulbs that might have been set aside and forgotten (or purchased at clearance). It would have been better if they’d been planted several weeks earlier, but these things happen, and sometimes the gardener discovers in January a sack of daffodils or crocuses set aside in the garage. These should be planted, preferably as soon as possible, but also when the ground is not frozen. They are likely to flower later than usual in the spring, and the flowers might be a bit small the first year, but it’s well worth planting them rather than tossing them onto the rubbish pile.
There’s no good reason I didn’t think of ordering bulbs when the time came. With trees damaged by storms, and a large patch of bamboo that was removed, there are gaps in the garden that must be filled, so to some extent I’ve been considering these open spaces. But, it’s not like my life’s so hectic that there’s no time for a stray thought. I just didn’t do it. Perhaps I’ll be a bit more motivated in the spring to plant some summer flowering bulbs instead. Lilies can be plugged into the smallest spaces, and autumn crocuses can be planted directly under shrubs, so I can continue in trying to fill every square inch of the garden.
Most years I plant several dozen narcissus, usually something a little different, and in recent years varieties that have been around for nearly as long as man has gardened. I’ve planted snowdrops and fritillarias, and a bit of anything if the mood strikes when I’m browsing the catalogs. I usually plant too few of whatever so that it takes several additional years for the snowdrops to seed and spread before they start to look like something. Fifteen or twenty crocus doesn’t make much of a show, and it can be several years before they have spread (if the squirrels don’t get them).
I’ve been talking myself in and out of planting a few things before winter sets in. As temperatures drop there is more risk in planting broadleaf evergreens, but that’s what I’m looking at doing. But, no bulbs this autumn.