Six Inch Rule

IMG_1436Rambling through the woodland edge border on yesterday’s sunny afternoon I decided to grab a trowel and split some of the snowdrop clumps to fill in a few more of the gaps. These are not the ‘specials’ but the ordinary nivalis and floro pleno, still very beautiful though and perhaps even more so because of their sheer number. They don’t receive any special treatment from me and there is no ceremony involved in their division  – I just stick a trowel into the edge of a clump until it is deep enough to bring up the bulbs as well as the leaves (not always successfully, I admit), dig a hole deep enough to replant them at the same depth and plonk them in. The woodland edge border was devised in 2002 and the first snowdrops would have gone in within a year or two, firstly a purchase of around 100 perhaps and then a few large clumps from a friend. The double floro pleno have been more recent acquisitions – perhaps 100 in ten separate clumps but now also being divided. Within ten years or so they must be getting close to achieving the ‘six inch rule’….

before and after splitting snowdrop clumps

before and after splitting snowdrop clumps

Yesterday’s sunny afternoon also brought the crocus out by the streamside but unfortunately the photograph didn’t capture the detail too well. One thing I noticed was that they are not all the same shade of purple, presumably the original C tommasinianus I planted not being ‘Barr’s Purple’ after all, unlike the extras that were added last year, but something darker.

IMG_1432Also just about visible are the Tête-à-Tête budding up nicely, much much earlier than last year but still a few weeks behind those at the front of the house that get the sun throughout the morning, here shown with the tommasinianus who were not quite as ecstatic with the weather today. It is noticeable that the Tête-à-Tête are true sun-worshippers, their eager little faces dutifully turning towards it, with neither hat nor high factor suncream anywhere in evidence.


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21 Responses to Six Inch Rule

  1. Pauline says:

    The sunshine is bringing all the flowers on rapidly, isn’t it wonderful when the crocus open fully, they look so pretty. I think we actually have Narcissus February Gold actually flowering in February for the first time! Spring is almost with us.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, Pauline, as they open from such a thin sliver of colour to a wide open mouth of it! Isn’t it strange about your Feb Gold, as springs have been getting earlier and milder for years?

  2. annette2121 says:

    I can’t believe our Tête-à-Tête are almost at the same stage as yours. We are usually a couple of weeks behind you up here. I must get more snowdrops – yours look lovely.

    • Cathy says:

      From what other people say the daffs are quite variable this year – and the swathes on nearby verges are not nearly out yet. I will post a longer view of the snowdrops in the woodland edge border soon – oh, it’s end of month coming up, so it will be then. They are delightful – and it show how it’s worth continually dividing and redividing.

  3. Lovely post. Looks like Spring is on its way. Hooray.

  4. pbmgarden says:

    It’s all very lovely. Exciting to see spring poking through. Having the mass planting of snowdrops is very nice. Susie

    • Cathy says:

      And I echo your ‘all very lovely’…… Definitely a good idea to keep dividing the snowdrops – doesn’t take long for them to spread 🙂

  5. I’m looking forward to having snowdrops to split, and to not being able to count the crocuses easily. I have February Gold flowering too, and tete-a-tete, though I had forgotten I had even planeted tete-a-tete in the little holding bed until they popped up, a failure of my notes. I do so love crocuses, particualrly massed. The first tommies are up in the grass in the back garden.

  6. Anna says:

    Splitting the snowdrops is a task that I must get on with so thanks for the reminder Cathy. It’s great when they self seed too. I’ve noticed more activity in that department this year. I think that variations on a shade of purple must be even more attractive than if all the crocuses were the same hue.

    • Cathy says:

      And thank you for prompting me to consider that some of my specials probably need dividing too. You are probably right about the crocus – it was just an unexpected surprise.

  7. rusty duck says:

    I was going to wait until the snowdrops had finished flowering, but it would be nice to see the full effect in the new location. If I do them now will they droop?

    • Cathy says:

      I have never had a problem with moving them like this Jessica – and it means they are only out of the ground for a minute or two. A bit of watering will help them along if rain isn’t expected – but this year the mild and damp weather will really help. The ones I moved have perked up again already

  8. Christina says:

    I wonder if you will weaken the bulbs by moving them when they are flowering, I hope not. I have Muscari that need splitting, their leaves are growing like grass, maybe I won’t wait either.

    • Cathy says:

      As I said to Jessica, it has never been a problem for me – and at this time of year people are buying and selling them (even the special snowdrops) and they usually arrive in flower and have been in the post for at least a day. As for the muscari, I know I would take the risk of losing a few any day!! They can grow like weeds where they establish here!

  9. Annette says:

    That is very encouraging and I look forward to my own proper fairy carpet in 10 years time. The other day I read one shouldn’t divide them in the green as was always suggested but your success shows that it may not be any harm.

  10. bittster says:

    You have such a nice spring display going on there, so unlike the snow and ice here! So good to have a nice reminder of what we have to look forward too. I can also look forward to my own snowdrops clumping up as nice 🙂

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