Looking through Chris' Wood in autumn. / Looking north through Chris' Wood

Can you spare an hour or two this weekend to volunteer and help plant bulbs in Chris’ Wood by the Art Pavilion?

We’ve thousands of woodland bulbs to plant over the next couple of weeks and need a hand! This is our fourth year of planting bulbs in the park – we are getting old hands at it, but the bulbs start to go mouldy quite quickly and we need to get them in the ground.

How can you help?

Just pop along for as little or as long as you like. Moral support helps too. So if you walk by, say just say “Hi”.

Who can come? Anyone! We have folk of all ages come: with friends, on their own, or with their kids or grandkids. (Note: Children must be accompanied by an adult).
What to wear: Dress for the weather – so something warm and a waterproof in case of showers. We have plenty of gloves and bulb planters and hand shovels, but please bring your own if you prefer. Something to kneel on is a good idea (a foam matt or even a plastic bag).
When to meet: This Saturday and Sunday we will have sessions from 10-12 and 1-3 on both days.
Where to meet: We will be in Chris’ Wood, which is just south of the Art Pavilion and behind Clinton Road (by the Grove Road Texaco Garage).
Weather: As of 10am Friday it is looking “alright” over the weekend, with a ~30% chance of light rain forecast. We will be there unless it is horrid. If you can drop us an email with your name and number just in case (unlikely) we have to alter timings or cancel.

About our woodland bulbs

We’ve selected a range of perennial native woodland bulbs that will hopefully multiple year on year, and give us a succession of flowers from late December through to late April. We aim to plant four to five thousand each year until Chris’ Wood looks like it has been carpeted with spring flowers. This is Year 4, give or take a year for lockdown/shielding.

We’ve at least 4500 bulbs to plant this year:
English bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) which multiply like fun and hopefully we’ll have a violet-blue carpet in Chris’ Wood in a few years. How can you tell the difference between English and Spanish bluebells? [We’ve ~1500 bulbs to plant].
Single Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) grow really quick and their distinct white flowers appear within weeks of planting, usually in January and lasting through to March [We’ve ~500 bulbs to plant.]
Winter Aconites (Eranthis hyemalis) with their bright, golden yellow flowers usually start flowering in February through to March. They can be a bit difficult to get established, so fingers-crossed [We’ve ~500 bulbs that look little black cannon balls].
Wood Anemones (Anemonoides nemorosa) with their white petals with a pinkish tinge and its distinct yellow anthers, anemones flower from March to May. They may be slow growers, but they look a delight [We’ve ~500 tubers that look like a cross between twiglets or that Spanish Gold Sweet Tobacco some may remember as a kid!].
Wild Garlic (Allium ursinum) or ramsons give rise to that strong garlicky smell you sometimes get in woodlands. Their white flowers appear from April to June. They are slow-growing, but we’ve been putting these in for quite a few years now so we should start seeing quite a show this year [We’ve ~1500 bulbs].

I do hope you can pop along for a bit – many hands make lighter work and it is surprisingly social!

Many thanks Tower Hamlets Council Parks Department for donating many of these bulbs and tools and to the Co-op Community Fund which has allowed us to buy a wider variety of woodland bulbs this year.