Slight Panic Sets In…

panic.setsinAs the snowdrop season approaches (hardly credible with the mostly mild autumn we have been having), I have not been able to resist poking around in the special snowdrop border to see if there an early spikes of green showing. Following on from the first bud of ‘Faringdon Double’ I was pleased to see several shoots of another early variety, ‘Mrs McNamara’ but there was no sign at all of ‘Maidwell L’ which was one of my very early purchases. Gentle excavation with the end of the seed label still failed to retrieve anything so I carefully lifted the basket the clump was growing in and inspected the contents more closely – alas! only soil and a few hollow bulbs… 😦 Maidwell L has been nobbled… and if an established clump can be devastated like this then how much more likely is it for a single bulb to meet the same fate…? 😦 😦 😦

The clump was so well established that I felt confident using two bulbs to experiment with propagating by the ‘chipping’ or ‘twin scaling’ method (which on this occasion was unsuccessful) and I may possibly have given a small pot of bulbs to a friend – with whom I have left a begging message. I am especially concerned because all the established snowdrops in this border had been temporarily lifted in their baskets whilst I raised the level of the bed earlier in the year and most had been repotted in their existing or larger baskets. Time will tell, but I shall be doing a lot more poking around in the coming months I can tell you – and I seriously wonder whether to keep duplicate bulbs potted up elsewhere to allow for disasters like this. It does feel like a disaster, as I may have lost individual bulbs in their first year but never an established clump – woe and double woe!

IMG_6287On a happier note (and there will always be happier notes), there should be no problem with stray laburnum seedlings from next year as the Golfer has begun to cut down the laburnums that our now deceased neighbour had personally planted in the hedge – hurrah! Also a cause for happiness is the creation of another small bricklaying project, arising from clearing the ivy at the foot of one of the rose arbour posts which generated the vision of a continuation of the existing supporting wall alongside the path. As this is the access required for getting wheelbarrows up the slope from the front of the house to the rest of the garden a wall on either side would have made it awkward, but widening the path by a couple of mini cobbles should make all the difference. Rain is forecast for the next few days but it’s only a couple of hours work so I shall get the bricks and mortar in anyway, just in case.

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21 Responses to Slight Panic Sets In…

  1. Bec says:

    Really really annoying to lose a big clump of bulbs – I’ve not had any snowdrops last two winters (I think the squirrels ate them) so I didn’t plant any this year… just more daffodils πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      I can tolerate our local squirrel burying and digging up hazel nuts, but if I caught him at my snowdrops…guts for garters!!

      • Bec says:

        Indeed – the squirrels drive me nuts but not been so many this year… more cats around maybe?…. I’ve been out today planting more bulbs today and covering with pots until I can get some chilli flakes down. fingers crossed πŸ™‚ weather been horrible here too… fingers crossed for your snowdrops πŸ™‚ love bec xx

  2. Brian Skeys says:

    What do you think would have eaten the bulbs under ground, slugs?

    • Cathy says:

      It’s hard to say Brian, but having found the remains of some of the bulbs I do wonder whether it might have been narcissus fly. Having just become aware of ‘no shows’ in the past there was no evidence to go on before.

  3. Anna says:

    Oh no!!! When did you lift them Cathy? I will keep my fingers crossed for the rest of your precious specials. On the subject of snowdrops I’ve just send you an email πŸ™‚

    • Cathy says:

      It was early in the year whilst some were still flowering, and I was really careful to pack the soil into the baskets when I repotted them, and they were only out of the bed for a few days while I built the wall… 😦 Email received and will be replied to

  4. AnnetteM says:

    That must be awful to lose a favourite clump like that. It sounds a good idea to split them and keep spares, but I suppose it depends on how often it happens. I have heard that disturbing the ground lets the creatures know where to dig, so maybe it won’t happen again. I only just started collecting snowdrops last year and have already lost one of my bulbs. Well I have lost the wacking big label I put in for ‘Magnet’, but I am still hopeful the bulb is there somewhere. Trouble is I can’t remember where I planted it. I do have a very old clump of common ones that are showing already, but none of the new ones I put in. The old ones are in some very hard ground under the big trees at the top. I think it would take a squirrel with a pickaxe to get them out.

    • Cathy says:

      I have got used to losing the occasional one within the first year, but an established clump… 😦 ps if you can’t find Magnet let me know and I will see if I can spare some…

      • AnnetteM says:

        Oh thank you so much – that has made me feel better about losing it. I am still hoping it will appear as I know what bed it is in, just not exactly where I put it.

  5. rusty duck says:

    Annette has a point about disturbed ground, it is something I’ve had a problem with too and probably the reason I haven’t had success with any new bulbs (apart from the ones completely enclosed in wire cages). But of the established clumps I haven’t seen any sign of snowdrops yet. Perhaps with the mild autumn it’s just a bit early?

    • Cathy says:

      yes, I am wondering if that has had anythiong to do with it Jessica, and although the whole bed was refreshed with new soil and compost added after the level was raised, but the specials are all in baskets and weren’t disturbed in quite the same way. It is only the pre Christmas specials that are showing green tips here, but where I have dug into the woodland edge border where the common ones are they are definitely shooting below ground – and they are always later than almost all the specials here

  6. Sorry to hear you’ve lost your Maidwell L bulbs, they must be especially tasty to something. Woodmice? They can squeeze through a pencil sized hole, you’d notice a hole at ground level nearby I suppose? It sounds like you’re covering all bases for the wedding flower challenge, lovely ideas too.

  7. Chloris says:

    Oh dear, what a calamity. I think I might have lost my precious Walrus too. Still there are lots of other nice ones to come to help us through the winter.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, calamity indeed – I haven’t heard back from my friend yet but I am trying to remain hopeful. My Walrus was clumping up nicely last year so perhaps I will have one to spare…

      • Chloris says:

        Oh that would be lovely, what a sweetie you are.😁

        • Cathy says:

          Hmm, don’t think I have ever been called a sweetie before – but don’t get too excited about the prospect of a potential Wasp as mine is a also a ‘no show’ so far, as is my Three Ships which didn’t show last year and is almost definitely a goner, so your kind offer would be happily taken advantage of. I have done quite a bit of pootling and about two thirds of my specials are showing which is nearly a month earlier than usual but I am not going to pootle any deeper than I have done. I shall be patient, maybe…

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