In last week’s blog I talked about how Spring down here in Kent was highly conspicuous by its absense. Well, since then we haven’t had any more snow, the icy winds have dropped a little and the night temperatures are beginning to show hints of staying above freezing. Is Winter finally over? The signs are certainly encouraging and although the plants, the stars of the show here at Chartwell, are still being pretty shy in most instances, there are more and more glimpses of colour and life every day.
Spring bulbs are often the first out of the block and this year is no different as they begin to poke their pretty heads above soil level. Like little gems of burried treasure, the emergence of bulbs are one of the highlights of the year for me. Admittedly you have to keep your peepers peeled to spot some of these tiny wonders but that is also part of the joy of spotting Spring bulbs. Whether they’re hidden in long grass, standing solitary on the bare border soil or finding strength in numbers amongst a swaith of mass planting, the beauty of the bulb should not be underestimated as I’ll try and show you in this here blog.
When is a bulb not a bulb? When it’s a corm or a tuber of course! All known as organs of perennation (ie an underground part of the plant that stores food allowing it to survive through Winter) they differ in the ways in which they are made up. A bulb is a condensed stem with swollen leaves that form the actual body of the bulb. It is these succulent, compressed leaves that store the food. Corms are also swollen stems but it is this stem itself that acts as the food store. The succulent leaves are much less bulky. Tubers are much simpler in their structure. They can be either a swollen root (such as a Dahlia) or a swollen underground stem (as in the humble potato).
Of course there is more to see at the moment than simply the emeging bulbs in Churchill’s gardens. From Primroses and Dogwoods to unfurling Camellia buds and the beauty of a freshly cut lawn, there is much to grab your attention…
Don’t just take my word for it though. Make sure you come and pay us a visit sometime soon and see for yourself. And if you take a particularly impressive picture while here, why not submit it to our photography competition and you might see it printed in next year’s Chartwell Garden Calendar.