First sight of bulbs


The best thing about January is seeing the first green tips of bulbs appearing through the bare earth. I could spend hours crouching down, scanning for a sight of these precious tiny signs of the year ahead. It makes the hard work of planting them all even more worthwhile.

Can you spot the bulb?

What with the short days and being so busy during December, this weekend was the first weekend I saw the garden in daylight. At first I could see only a handful of eager muscari (always the first to show, months before flowering). Where were my snowdrops? Had they been eaten? It took some time for my eyes to adjust, and then I started spotting them everywhere, their tiny white heads so desperate to open before half-way out of the ground.


My faithful Iris ‘George’ has also come up again, for the third year running. I wonder if they have multiplied?

Iris ‘George’

Watching the first bulbs appear in January is just about my favourite gardening thing. What’s yours?



33 thoughts on “First sight of bulbs”

  1. Hi,

    Bulb spotting is also my favourite, although sadly a lot of mine have gradually disappeared over the years and I really need to replace them.

    Although I’m no fan of daffodils for me they are the first definite sign that spring really is here and the worst is over.

  2. Seeing my hellebore (Christmas Rose) with buds on was an exciting moment – last year it didn’t have a single flower though the previous one there were 13 flowers. And even one of the offspring has a bud on it too. Hyacinths are also coming through on the front step! And I love daffodils but didn’t get around to planting any, thankfully there will be fields full of them near me shortly! Of course, now being in Cornwall, everything happens just that bit sooner…

    1. I adore Christmas Roses… this year I am going to experiment with dividing mine as I don’t have nearly enough of them. I hope you enjoy those daffodils! You are probably a good month ahead of us, though we have had another mild season.

      1. I tried sowing seeds from mine despite reading that they can take 18 months to germinate. I have several plants raised this way and they didn’t take that long. They are slow to grow though.

      2. Well I just sowed mine in ordinary compost in a tray and left it outside. Once there were tiny seedlings I put them into their own pots. No hassle at all!

  3. Such a cheering sight! I have at least another 10-12 weeks before I see the same in my garden. So begins the long tease where all my UK friends exclaim over their budding delights and I have to keep envy at bay. ;-D

      1. It all balances out in the end, doesn’t it? Funny thing is, while many of us grumble, we aren’t about to pull up stakes and leave. We love our home. 🙂

  4. Too many to have a favourite, Joanna, although something flowering for the first time after a very long wait is always good – I cried when my wisteria flowered the first time, 6 years after I bought it… But watching bulbs and herbaceous plants reappearing is definitely very exciting, as they appear so suddenly sometimes and a bit of unexpected warmth can give them a real boost. Hope you are soon on your feet enjoying yours again

  5. I like seeing the first signs of the bulbs too. Last year we saw them very early, but I fear this year will be different. Not much snow yet, but there is a chill that does not seem like it will subside anytime soon.

      1. A period of frost is quite important to some plants, especially some bulbs. It triggers growth; I had this explained to me many years ago by an academic botanist. I cannot remember the details, but it is called Vernalisation.

      2. I have definitely heard of this, and it’s not just bulbs, but of course seeds too and probably lots of other things. Our weather has been so random this winter… 2 degrees one day, 10 the next. The plants will be most confused.

  6. Oh yes, it is the best thing about January. And soon the snowdrops and hellebores will be delighting us. Even in the gloomiest months there is something to get excited about in the garden.

  7. I was out in the garden at home earlier in the week foraging for life! Not just bulbs but all those perennials that cling on to colour and leaf through winter, It was great to see what was about, I’ve even got Snowdrops almost in flower 🙂

    1. It is just so wonderful to have a quiet dig about at this time of year and see what is doing what. What have you found in your garden? I have had some most surprising perennials clinging on this winter, including an Osteospermum quite merrily flowering away in December, outdoors, after a swift frost. My snowdrops are about to flower too, so thrilling! I am trying my best not to become a Galanthophile, but I can see how people become obsessed with them.

  8. Oh yes its a joy to see the first bulbs coming up in the garden. That and the first seed sowing of the year are my favourite gardening moments. So yes despite the cold at the moment there are little things to look forward to.

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