Volunteers and Bulbs: rewards for long service

Volunteers and Bulbs: rewards for long service

Jane  and town crier
Jane is congratulated by Chester’s Town Crier, Gary Zwicker.

Presentation of Volunteer Awards is a Springtime tradition in Chester, during which nominees from various organizations are honoured for their exemplary service over many years. This year’s Chester Garden Club nominee was Jane Wilkins, a long-standing member who has also been active in a number of other community organizations. Jane’s garden is always a source of delight and, from its blooms, Jane creates many charming floral arrangements for community events.

After a particularly long winter, Chester gardeners feel their patience is being rewarded as warmer weather has spurred lawns and gardens to “green up” almost overnight. Bulbs long dormant are once again serving to brighten up the landscape.

puschkinia crop
This clump of Puschkinia has already attracted a small bee.

Bulbs provide a display of colour in many seasons but are perhaps most welcome in spring.

In Jane’s garden, as the crocuses fade, bright blue hyacinths take the stage.
Adding to the mix is a less familiar variety of yellow hyacinths.

Because most gardeners plant bulbs with the expectation that they will regenerate year by year, it is important that the soil be fertile. Fertilizers that are low in nitrogen, high in potash and phosphate will provide the right mix. That means adding bone meal or rose fertilizer when planting, or sprinkling it on the surface immediately afterwards.

A clump of pink hyacinths pale in contrast to the deep green of spring grass in Joan’s garden.
Jocelyn's hyacinths
A mix of pink and blue hyacinths line the back of a new border in Jocelyn’s garden.

Daffodils and other bulbs are also showing their colours around the area. Most bulbs should be planted when they are dormant, and the usual advice is to plant them at a depth equal to their own in heavy soil, and about twice as deep in sandy soil. Even the smallest bulbs should have at least 5 cm of soil above them.

Daffodils mingled with scillas.


These daffodils were photographed in Chester, where they reign supreme in a street-front bed that changes colour and texture during the year as the plants develop according to their season.

strip lenten rose and spring flowers
A Lenten rose nodding to its reticent neighbours.

Sylvia’s  garden is a treat for visitors at any time of year but Spring provides a glimpse of less-well known plants that add to the colour palette. Many spring-flowering bulbs do well when planted under deciduous trees because the bulbs do most of their growing before the tree has leafed out and also because the roots of trees (and shrubs) absorb moisture and thus help keep the soil from getting soggy, which is beneficial to the bulbs.

0 Replies to “Volunteers and Bulbs: rewards for long service”

    1. It’s nice to see seasonal changes in the Boston area via your blog. We have a long-standing connection with what a lot of old-timers in Nova Scotia refer to as “the Boston States”.

        1. Trade opportunities had a lot to do with the migration (both ways) between Maritimers and Americans during the mid-1880s and into the early part of the 20th century. Lots of people from Nova Scotia went to New England for work (my own great-grandfather among them) and there were many families with ties on both sides of the border. Boston was the hub for trade, education and culture, but people here used the general term “the Boston states” the way we now talk about going “out west” or “up north”.

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