Garden lore

“I asked a schoolboy, in the sweet summertide, ‘what he thought a garden was for?’ and he said Strawberries. His younger sister suggested Croquet and the elder Garden-parties. The brother from Oxford made a prompt declaration in favour of Lawn Tennis and Cigarettes, but he was rebuked by a solemn senior…and was told that ‘a garden was designed for botanical research, and for the classification of plants.”

Is He Dead Yet by Rev Samuel Hole (1819-1904)

Late winter flowering Lachenalia bulbifera

Late winter flowering Lachenalia bulbifera

Digging and dividing part 2: bulbs

While the season has passed for planting trees and shrubs, think bulbs. All the autumn bulbs will be dormant now but ready to spring into growth with the trigger of summer rains. This takes in bulbs such as nerines, colchicums, many of the species cyclamen and ornamental oxalis. Lift them and spread them or repot them now if they were looking overcrowded last autumn. It is also a good time to do the same with the early spring bulbs such as daffodils, tulips, bluebells, lachenalias, snowdrops and snowflakes. Many of these still have vestiges of foliage hanging on so you can actually find the clump without having to exploratory excavations. If the clump is pushing itself up out of the ground, it is a sure sign you need to thin them out.

First published in the Waikato Times and reprinted here with their permission.

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