The curious incident of the crocus in the night-time

Why would you plant crocuses in the dark? you might ask. Is some property of the bulb affected by sunlight? Does some climatic quality, more prevalent in night, promote viability of the bulbs? Are crocuses even affected by phases of the moon, considerably more easily observed during darkness hours? Or might the mere sight of a bare, naked crocus bulb cause the more sensitive neighbours to have a fit of the vapours?

None of these: I just ran out of time.

This weekend, on the way back from a wedding that no railway could access, we doubled up our car-hire usage by calling at the New Leaf garden centre and stuffing the tiny boot of a Toyota Aygo with compost, tools, some house plants, and twenty bulbs of end-of-line, already-sprouting Crocus “Spring Beauty”.

Even as I bought them I thought: these should really already have been planted, and so twenty-four hours later I was already feeling guilty for not having done so. But I had paid work to finish, and I was fidgeting in my chair as the skies began to darken: looking out the window, looking back at the monitor screen, looking out again.

At last, a gap appeared in my timetable. But at this time of year, spare time at 4pm is spare time in the dark. But this is what security lights are made for! Well, it isn’t, but I made a decent fist of illuminating the garden with ours, and then planted the crocus bulbs in the two Iris-less planters, from the four I potted up two weeks ago. Given I forgot to put any pansies in any of these, this should at least give me some spring colour. I need all the colour I can get, if I’m going to make a habit of planting in the dark!

At the same time, I netted these two planters (and I probably need to net the other two as well.) Something is digging in my soil-filled containers, often exposing the bulbs. I hope it’s one of the fostered Bengal cats from two doors down, but it could be the fox that their fosterer mentioned. Either way, I’m going to need more netting eventually, so this was good practice:



(Photographed later!)

… By the way, if you fancy a challenge, something more difficult than planting bulbs at night, try working with black netting over black pots and black compost on a dark-grey deck.

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