Monday, 5 November 2012
Planting spring flowering bulbs is very much in the thoughts and posts of many gardening bloggers just now - some have already made light work of it whilst others like me are still ruminating. However the goodies have been purchased so making a start on planting is at the top of my gardening to do list. I have vowed not to delay this what should be a gentle occupation until the dark cold days of January, when your fingers risk severe frost bite and the ground is not always obligingly yielding. So I was all geared up to bulb planting yesterday when I met with a major obstacle. Virtually all my bulbs were resident in the cool but dry garage, only himself had departed in the direction of Cornwall at the crack of dawn, with the key in his pocket and will not be home again until some point today. The garage is very much his domain as I do not drive and consequently do not venture into its realms on a regular basis. For some reason I no longer have a key on my key ring so my plans went out of the window along with a few choice words.
I did have one bag of crocus bulbs to plant which I had fortunately left in the house - yes I know that the books say that they should already be planted but they will soon catch up. However it did not take me all day to plant some 25 bulbs so I was left with time on my hands to idle away. The bulbs in case were crocus 'Yalta' which I have not grown before but which had been on my wish list for a couple of years or so since I first read about them. I was pleased to see them for sale in the current Avon Bulbs catalogue so decided to try some out in a container. They are described most beguilingly as "a hybrid form resembling a large tommasinianus with silvery blue outer petals and darker purple inners petals. Gorgeous even in bud."
I'm always intrigued to find out more about the name behind any bulb or plant that comes my way, so once planting was done and squirrel proofing measures were in place, I set out on an armchair voyage of discovery, with the aid of the all knowing and all seeing Google, to find out more about my little bulbs. The catalogue obligingly provided the information that the bulb was raised from seed harvested from a botanical collection in the Crimea by Janis Ruskans, (a Latvian nurseryman). Now did it follow that 'Yalta' was also in the Crimea and if so whereabouts, or was it a girl's name, or did 'Yalta' refer to something else altogether? It turned out that Yalta is indeed in the Crimea being a seaside resort on the north coast of the Black Sea. The city itself is said to have been 'founded by Greek sailors who were looking for a safe shore (γιαλός –yalos in Greek) on which to land. The city is situated on south facing bay and is surrounded by wooded mountains.'(source - Wikipedia) The climate of the area is described as sub tropical so vineyards and orchards flourish.The city has its own botanical gardens - The Nikitsky Botanical Gardens, which may well be the source of the seed that gave rise to the bulb. A most pleasant interlude, which saw me finding out about a far away city in both words and photos, which I might have never otherwise discovered.
I will hopefully report back in the spring on how these bulbs fared. Meanwhile the major bulb planting marathon awaits.
Note : For those of you who like finding out more about the names behind your plants you may well enjoy Alex Pankhurst's book 'Who Does Your Garden Grow?'.