The song of the bulb

Currently as I walk around the garden I can hear the sound of gentle humming rising from the recently planted bulbs.  Bear with me, I will explain.
It is often said that planting bulbs is planting hope.  When I am planting out bulbs in autumn, on the cold often wet dreary short days that never last quite long enough, I tell myself I am planting spring and I smile.  I usually aim to plant bulbs whilst they are asleep or just thinking of going back to sleep.  Daffodils, tulips etc I will plant in the autumn whilst they are still sleeping but knowing they will have to wake up soon.  Snowdrops I usually plant in the green when they are just starting to nod off again.  This is the general plan.

Sometimes though, sometimes (actually quite often), I have not got around to planting the bulbs soon enough and sometimes they are actually awake.  They are showing signs of growth and are clearly desperate to be planted.

When they are already awake this gives me a sense of urgency as I worry that they will need food and moisture and somewhere for their roots to reach out through.  I also find it useful if they are already growing as I can see/feel quite easily the ones that are withering and not going to thrive.  Depending on the amount of wither, I might plant them anyway as I take the view they will either pull through and survive, or they will continue to die and they will rot down in the soil quite happily.  Most however I can see are growing and desperate to grow.
I place them into the soil and as I close the soil back over them I am fairly certain they sing

"You're out of the woods
You're out of the dark
You're out of the night
Step into the sun
Step into the light"*


which is of course from The Wizard of Oz, one of my all time favourite films. When the bulbs have sung this a few times they then segue into a rousing version of the Hallelujah chorus before quietening to a gentle happy hum.  The pale shoots that have needed more sustenance and probably more dark before they burst through into the light disappear from my sight as I plant them, but I know they will re-emerge soon:  better, stronger and yes, possibly faster too.

I bought my bulbs quite late this year, though I never regard it too late to plant them.  The later they go in then the worst that will happen is the later they will flower.  Quelle horreur!  As long as the ground is not too frozen for me to dig: in they go!

You know how all good gardening books and magazines tell you to label all seed sowings, everything as you will forget what they are.
I present to you exhibit A.  The forgotten bulbs.  I found these dumped in a corner of the greenhouse.  I have a vague memory of removing them from something and putting there whilst I thought what I would do with them much earlier this year.  I cannot remember what they are.  They are quite small and there are a lot of them.  I do not think they are crocii, they look too elongated.  They might be muscari but then again they might be a lot of things.  If I could rustle up the effort I probably have a photograph of them in flower somewhere, but that would rely on me remembering what they were planted in originally.   I generally think my memory is pretty good especially about plants but these have fallen into the darkest of black holes.

They are also clearly showing signs of growth as bulbs are very forgiving and will try their best to grow even if feeling very neglected.  So exhibit A has now been planted in a few patches in the garden.  I will enjoy being surprised when they (hopefully) flower and I will let you know what they are.

and yes they sang, loudly, boldly, bravely.

Oh - and the clever clogs amongst you (you know who you are!) - do not spoil the surprise and tell me what they are, I am enjoying not knowing.



*Optimistic Voices from The Wizard of Oz music by Harold Arlon, lyrics by Yip Harburg