Because all you’ll get is heartbreak.
That’s because you know how many you had last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. And then you realise just how bad a year the current one has been for your best-beloveds.
Three years ago I had over 1500; then it went down to 900-odd, and last year I was back up into four figures with about 1250. This year I’ll be lucky to get to 800, though I’ve still got a few of my smaller narcissi in bud.
The orange tips love them…
I don’t know whether to blame the fact that we transplanted some and also split a few long-established but underproductive clumps, or if their iffy performance could be down to the (relatively) warm winter. The bulbs definitely didn’t get much of a chilling in my garden – I think I only had a severe-enough frost to harden the ground on one occasion. Bizarre.
And it’s farewell to the fritillaries, too – the very last of them, a rather tardy pair of whites, are just starting to go over.
See you next spring, babes.
However, this is gardening, and there are always compensations. I’ve been spending some time crawling around and really, really looking (my excuse is that my hand op has prevented me from weeding – no, no, it has) at some plants that I tend to take for granted.
Like my muscari: they flourish at the base of the ancient pear, where I encourage dandelions to flower because they look lovely together. Tonally, they match – the deep blue of the muscari, and equally saturated yellow of the piss-a-beds. And they’d be a nightmare to weed out, but that’s not why I leave them, honest, and I do remove the heads before they go to seed. Er, sometimes. I remember my father saying that if dandelions were rare, we’d value them highly. I don’t think he liked weeding them out either, but he did enjoy the resulting ‘philosophical’ argument with my mother. Probably because it meant less time for weeding dandelions.
Anyway, this year I took a close look at the muscari themselves, and they are exquisite.
I’d no idea. I seem to remember being rather dismissive of them when I celebrated my chionodoxas.
Like most people, I have forget-me-nots, and they’re another plant I tend to be a little dismissive about – when I’m not rootling them out from everywhere and trying to confine their exuberance to where I want it rather than where they want it (which is all over the place). There is now a small plant near the greenhouse water butt, and the nearest plants are on the other side of the garden. I crawled down to get a proper look at them too, and now I haven’t the heart to rip them out.
Years ago a friend of mine had an arts and crafts pendant – I think it had been her great-grandmother’s – which featured forget-me-nots, and I clearly remember saying that I’d never seen forget-me-nots that were so delicate. Wrong – I’d just not looked.
And then there are the deliberate joys. I’ve really been enjoying my tulips and they have been excellent, hrrumpf, unlike the daffs, but I think they deserve a post to themselves. Another of my deliberate plantings which has been compensating for the Dreary Daffodil Disappointment is my erythronium,
which has been better than ever. I love its understated elegance, but more importantly I really, really appreciate they way it loves my dark, dank, damp corner under the Portugal Laurel, next to the inspection cover of the soakaway (ah, the poetry of gardeners).
And there are still plenty of primroses, oxlips, cowslips and strange oxroselips hanging about, though even they are finally beginning to go over.
And just as that happens, the meadow starts to shoot up.
I did wonder if the rather cool weather which has been knocking things back would affect it (it’s been a very strange spring so far), but no. On the contrary, it is entering its bad hair day phase earlier than usual, and that always drives me crackers – and then I remember that it has to go through the scrappy staying-in-the-house-because-I’m-not-going-out-like-this stage to reach its full summer glory.
And of course without the meadow I’d just have an expanse of mown grass punctuated by dying-back daffodils. Maybe next year will be better…
Oh dear, I can’t believe I’m complaining about ‘only’ having 800 daffs. See? Never start counting.