Monday, 9 November 2015

Getting tulip & daffodil ready

The Dutch are famous for their tulips  - starting as early as 1637 when at the peak of the 'tulip mania' a single bulb would sell for as much as 10 times a craftsman's annual income. In the late spring, It was the first great economic bubble and despite it's subsequent collapse, the Dutch are still master tulip growers. The  Noord-Holland climate is perfect with cool damp springs that brings forth  a living kaleidoscope of color . Driving along the motorways, you pass field after field carpeted in glorious colors. Over the space of about 6-8 weeks from mid March to late April the vista constantly changes as different bulbs burst into bloom. Sadly too, sometimes you see fields where the tulip guillotines have been running - where the farmer has removed the flowers to encourage bulb growth and left the aisles between planting strewn with fading petals. 

I was house hunting at just that time - and was super excited that the area around the stolpboederij has many tulip farmers. Being able to watch and smell the fragant harvest develop from the house windows is a wonderful treat to come. There are some additional perks as well : lots of farms have buckets with freshly cut tulips for sale next to honesty boxes during the blooming seasons and you can fill your house with flowers in every room for just pennies. In the winter, they often sell the bulbs as well, and I took advantage of another 'too good to say no' deal to buy a bunch of tulip bulbs to go into the garden.  They are a mystery variety, so I have no idea what color they will be - looking forwards to a spring surprise. 
This autumn week is grey and damp, and it's definitely getting close to late in the season for planting bulbs. I have 150 mixed daffodils to plant as well as my tulips so we decided to focus on getting these all in the ground before continuing with the rest of the garden. The canal bank down the side of the  house is steeply sloping and hard to mow, so it seemed like a great candidate for a bulbfest!

We started with one traditional style bulb planter and a more advanced one with a 'release' handle that widens out the sides to allow the soil plug to drop out and cover the new bulb. Despite the extra technology, the soil has a high clay content and clings grimly to everything, so it took more time to push the plug back out, than to get it into the planter in the first place. After about 30 or so bulbs, we were both sore wristed and wondering how on earth we would get to the end. Thankfully W had a bright idea and pulled out our recently acquired post hole digging tool - it drilled out the holes super quickly and made in the process crumbled the soil as much as possible given the clay content. An hour and a half later, accompanied by an excited puppy who tried to dig up as fast as we planted, it was all done. The bank doesn't look a lot different - I can't wait for spring!

No comments:

Post a Comment