There was a point last week when we realised we had a bulb battle on our hands. As a result of my bulb-buying enthusiasm in warm and sunny August/September, and despite having already planted a few hundred already, we found ourselves on a cold and wet December weekend with quite a few hundred more yet to be planted. There was nothing else to it: adopt a military approach, arm ourselves with spades and trowels, and blitz the bulbs by digging wide trenches and not taking any prisoners.
We have long used the Dutch strip method of planting; this is not a technical one you'll find in any gardening books, just that we prefer to use mini-Holland-style lines of bulbs rather than tasteful but very time-consuming naturalistic inter-planting. But this year we went for extra-wide trenches because we knew the light would fade fast, the rain would inevitably fall, we would sink in the mud, and the battle would be lost.
And this year the campaign was helped by the fact that I was out there as a bulb-rank-and-file-planting-private instead of bulb-directing-operations-officer for a change. It was lovely - excellent exercise and fresh air, and we even caught an hour or two when it was sunny and still, and long, long shadows were being cast.
And here we are, privates on parade, Simon with his spade, looking for all the world like illustrations from a Laura Stoddart book. In the end, after a battle royal, we won. Every single bulb is where it should be. Victory for the diggers.