In October, when I discovered that my big brother had already planted his spring bulbs and even sown his sweet peas, I decided to use my blog posts to see when I had previously planted bulbs and so I read my post from 2019 to check what I did right then. Sadly, delving into events of the past two years is a potentially upsetting exercise – like raking over the embers of a massive fire, they appear harmless, but underneath the grey ash, the coals are deep and hot. And they continue to burn – I fear they always will. The pictures on that post show bulbs neatly placed in pots, on a bed of compost ready to be made snug. There is a photo of the grey wagtail that appeared as if by magic and has returned this year, flying at the patio doors like an anxious spirit.
The pictures are gloomy, in my mind if not in reality. But I remember the spring show that followed my efforts that day as being the best I have ever achieved with bulbs, so this year I hope to surpass them. Which might explain the trigger-happy internet shopping spree that led to a large box of bulbs being delivered to my door in November. So this year I am going large on bulbs and sweet peas, in an effort to ensure a vibrant colourful spring in the Midlife Garden.
I made up some potting compost to my own random recipe. To a base of New Horizon peat-free compost I added a little left over builders’ sand and a scoop of slow-release fertilizer that has been hanging around since being retrieved from the Old Place. (How slow release does slow-release fertilizer have to be before it passes its use by date?) The key ingredient, though, is horse manure. I have been up and down the lane collecting wheelbarrow loads of the well-rotted organic gold dust from one of our neighbours – the same one who advised on action before motivation two years ago. The consistency is fine-grained and friable and I am hoping that it will provide plenty of sustenance to any bulb or seed.
So, in the New and Year and spring I hope to see narcissi, muscari and tulips filling the tubs, while crocuses push through the lawn, snowdrops glint in the borders and snakes head fritillaries dip their heads bashfully in the wild flower garden. At least, by my actions these past couple of weeks, I can at least of given myself some hope for the New Year.