A massive thanks to our small band of eager volunteers who came along over the last five weekends to help plant bulbs in Chris’ Wood. Friendships were both renewed and made. When we started in early October the leaves were still on the trees. We’ve had a mixture of unseasonably hot weather, bitterly cold mornings and thankfully not too much rain. This is our fifth year of planting and we added around 10,000 bulbs.

What bulbs did we plant?

Using funding from the Co-op Community Fund we sourced most of our bulbs from Meadowmania whose bulbs always arrive in great condition. The “vision” is to fill Chris’ Wood with native woodland bulbs to give a long season of flowers from December all the way through to May.

At Week Five, just when we thought our bulb planting season was over and the tools had been cleaned and stored away, we had a last minute delivery of more woodland bulbs provided by the Mile End Park Management. We had to keep an eye out not to tread on the flowering snowdrops from last year’s efforts.

Enjoy the Show

Over the next five months or so we should see a succession of bulbs breaking through the ground and flowering. Woodland bulbs often take a year or two before flowering in numbers as they concentrate their efforts on root development. Nonetheless, some of this year’s plantings should show themselves alongside the thousands of bulbs from previous years.

Planting Bulbs “in the Green”

Around Easter time we hope to order lots of “in the green” bulbs. ie Bulbs that have been lifted early whilst still in active growth and are planted straight away with the stems still attached. These cost a little more, but have well developed root systems and are more vermin resistant (yes that includes the nosy squirrel I saw today). As well as our woodland regulars, we’ll be adding some “specials” such as Snakeshead Fritillary, Snowflakes, Grape Hyacinth and maybe some wild tulips.

Increasing the Biodiversity

There’s no denying spending a few minutes in the park, away from the hustle and bustle of Tower Hamlets, is great for our physical and mental health. But the bulbs do more than just add a splash of colour to the green shades of the wood. All the bulbs we plant are on the RHS-list of plants for pollinators and help to to attract bees, moths, butterflies and other pollinators.