Sunday, 6 February 2011

Thoughts of warmer days

It has rained steadily all day and feels dreich and horrible. Yesterday wasn't quite so drear, and I went outside for a while to see how the various bulbs I'd planted in the autumn were doing, and for a bit of tidying up. A slightly unwelcome discovery (but not a surprise) was that my acidanthera (gladiolus callianthus) corms had all rotted. They should have been brought in for the winter, in fact, but they flowered incredibly late, standing well into the mild days of last November, so I was caught completely by surprise when the snow arrived towards the end of the month. I got back from London to find them under a foot of white stuff and, at that point, I'm afraid they were doomed. If I want more this year, I'll have to buy more.

I despaired, in fact, of them ever flowering, they are really too exotic for our northern summers. But they're so pretty (you can just about tell from the not-very-good photos) and were such a pleasure during the short autumn days, that I may decide to try again. Actually, they only cost about the same as a bunch of supermarket flowers, and we could see them from the house, so I have nothing to complain about really.

The bottom picture shows how gracefully they grow, but you do spend a lot of time looking at those leaves getting longer and thicker. Next time I will grow them in tall pots, with the corms packed quite tightly together, I think. I have a tendency to space bulbs too widely in pots, as though I was planting them in the ground. I'm only slowly learning to wedge them all in as tightly as possible (like they do when selling them in pots). Habits of frugality die hard.