Big Milford Bulb Plant 11th November 2023

Belper Town Council (BTC) have planted winter and summer bedding along the front of The Triangle community garden (on the junction of the A6 and Chevin Road) for many years, but in recent years have been disappointed with the winter bedding, which has failed to perform. BTC have decided not to plant winter bedding this year so with their agreement Blooming Milford decided to plant 2200 bulbs along the front, from their funds. They are a mixture of varieties chosen to flower all year round and are perennial, so will be a permanent feature.

Quite meticulous planning was required before the bulbs were purchased and planted (and thanks to Sue Wood for this). First we chose a selection of bulbs that would flower all the way from January to November, to try to give as much colour as the bedding they were going to replace.

For the horticulturalists among you, here are the bulb varieties we chose:  Iris reticulata (Alida, Harmony, Pauline); Chionodoxa; Winter aconites; Scilla (bifolia blue, bifolia rosea, siberica alba); crocus (Yellow golden mammoth, Pickwick, Prince Claus, Zwanenberg); miniature daffodils (Toto, Tete-a-tete); spring snowflakes; puschkinia; anemone blanda (blue); tulips (Little Beauty, Fenna, Tarda, Giuseppe Verdi, Temple of Beauty, Queen of the Night, Muscadet); Star of Bethlehem; Camassia (Quamash), Dog-tooth violets (Pagoda); alliums (albopilosum, Purple Rain, Purple Sensation, Graceful Beauty); dwarf lilies (Happy Memories, Happy Love, Inuvik, Abbeville’s Pride); gladioli (The Bride, Nymph, Prins Claus) and triteleia (Queen Fabiola, Corrina.) Bulbs that flower late (Sept – Nov) are not available until February so we will buy and plant these later. These will be Crocosmia (George Davidson Yellow, Carmine Brilliant, Emily Mackenzie); Schitzostylosis (Alba, Red, Pink), Nerines and Autumn crocuses.

The former bedding plot at the front of the Triangle, in order to give colour all year round, was divided into 41 x 1′ (30cm) wide strips at 45 degrees of various lengths (the bed is not of an even width). First the bed was cleared of the old summer bedding, dug over thoroughly and then the 41 strips marked out with string and canes and then each strip labelled 1 to 41 with plant labels.

Bed at front of The triangle marked out into 41 foot wide strips

An early spring flowering and a summer flowering variety of bulb was assigned for each strip and the number of bulbs required worked out depending on the recommended planting density and area of each strip. The actual bulbs, once they arrived, were then counted out and sorted into 41 paper bags, one for each strip. With there being 2200 bulbs this was quite a task – it took 3 people 4 hours each! It was worth it though – it made the planting out so much easier on the day.

2200 unsorted bulbs

41 bags of sorted bulbs, 4 hours later!

Finally we set about planting out the bulbs, each numbered bag into each numbered strip. A trial run was undertaken on Thursday 9th of November to check the system worked (it did), before the official “Big Milford Bulb Plant” on Saturday 11th November at 10.00am. A letter drop to every house in Milford & Makeney advertising this was done beforehand and 8 volunteers turned up the day, which was excellent. It was a lovely sunny day and with so many volunteers the planting was completed in just 2.5 hours. The pictures show the planters hard at work.

Planting complete.

Fingers crossed now for next year – and hopefully a beautiful all year round display of bulbs!


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