It is early January and friend June phones.
“I’m going to the Garden Centre; there may be still be remaindered bulbs on sale.”
“Isn’t it rather late?”
“I can put them in pots and they’ll still flower.”
June is packed full of excited anticipation and the whole scene plays before my eyes.
At the Garden Centre the remaining packets of bulbs are deeply remaindered. They look sad as they come into growth and the roots emerge within the confines of the fretwork plastic that dangles in air.
Hands disentangle the roots from the plastic in which they are entwined. The lucky bulbs are reunited with rich earth and moisture as hands delve and place them, noses up, roots splayed. They are tucked in, covered in compost and the surface of the soil is smoothed level. Now there is a row of expectant pots, arrayed like pregnant mothers. The instinct to nurture has been fulfilled and the cup of happiness brimmeth. It is almost as good as doing it oneself.
Last autumn I counted my pots that contained bulbs. There were 33 of them, plus of course, the five new packets I just couldn’t resist buying. I planted all 38 sets of bulbs in the garden. This year there are no pots to be moved near to the front or back door at the point of flowering. No pots to be relocated to dry sunny spots for the summer. No pots to be disinterred so the bulbs can be replanted in fresh compost during the autumn. A whole tranche of work has been eradicated.
However, I think of my cache of 33 empty pots, now depleted of promise, of life. I think of those dangling packets with their desiccating lives.
Perhaps just a few packets. It’s not too late.
Susan A. Tindall