The first year we shifted to Fairy Wren Cottage we made a large bulk order of heritage fruit trees, the second year it was roses, the third year it was bulbs. Since then each year we buy a small selection of bulbs, it is a great gardening project that Lil especially loves. We pour through the bulb catalogues together and choose some bulbs to buy. Michael’s favourites are Snowdrops, they remind him of his childhood in Holland, family memories and as a little boy calling them Snow Clogs. Being one of the more expensive bulbs, we try not to invest more than $20-30 each year in them, planting the snowdrops in different parts of the garden to see if they would actually grow. It has ended up being a small investment for larger returns.
Thankfully over time those snowdrops have loved the conditions in our garden, they have multiplied and thrived since the Pademelons, Wallabies, Eastern Quoll, Betongs and the occasional rabbit don’t eat them. My plan was never to divide the snowdrops every year but let them settle in, see where they would actually grow because lets face it, Michael couldn’t break the ground with a crowbar when we got here and it has been lots of trial and error with planting anything and everything.
Fast forward to the last couple of weeks, we have had to shift lots of plants due some plumbing having to be dug up and of course guess what was in the way? Yes, you guessed it…lots of Michael’s Snow Clogs in flower. So of course we diligently lifted the snowdrops.
Michael lifted each large clump of snowdrops with a shovel, making sure not to go too close to the roots. Excess soil fell away from the root growth without damaging any roots. The ground is damp, so it is a perfect time to divide them.
We moved one clump at a time to prevent the snowdrops from being out of the ground too long and then straight out of the ground we tucked each snowdrop clump in-between damp mulch while Michael dug holes for the new smaller snowdrop clumps, we have deliberately dotted them around the garden, not too close too neighbouring plants and trees, when it comes time in a couple of years to lift the snow drops again and divide them they won’t cause minimal root damage to anything growing nearby.
A good rule of thumb is don’t plant bulbs under the canopy of neighbouring plants and trees, it will disturb the root growth, remember to factor in how large the canopy and roots will grow when fully grown.
This large clump of snowdrops naturally divided itself into 4 smaller clumps. The new smaller clumps of bulbs looked healthy, intact and I didn’t see any reason to justify forcing those already smaller clumps apart. Slowly slowly, gently gently is my approach with this, minimal handling and dividing, less shock and impact on the bulbs being transplanted to a new part of the garden and slightly new microclimate.
Showing very few signs of stress the snowdrops have settled in.
My six tips;
1. Follow these guidelines for planting. Slow and steady movements allows the clumps of bulbs to divide naturally without you forcing them. You’ll understand what I mean when you are holding them and what ever you do, don’t slice the blade of your shovel through the clump of lifted snowdrops, you’ll cut those precious bulbs (lets not forget how expensive they are) and damage them, chances are once cut they’ll rot and die.
2. Plan it for a cool day, when there are rainy days and cold weather to follow.
3. Make sure the ground around the snowdrops is damp before lifting them.
4. Once lifted cover the roots of the bulbs straight away with damp mulch, keep damp and keep out of direct sunlight and prevent the roots from drying out.
5. After planting your new smaller clumps of snowdrops, heel in well, mulch well around them and give them a good drink of water.
6. This is a job that you start and follow through straight away for the best results, the snowdrops rejuvenate quickly once settled in.
Sending Light and Love,
August 21, 2020