Here's an interesting problem:
I had a question from one of my previous Trainees, the other day: they asked "the Client is going to have a pond made, in front of an apple tree. They have asked me to dig up and store the daffodils from the lawn in that area. I’m not sure if the pond will be in the exact area of the daffs but I am thinking how easy is this to do? Would it be better done when the pond is dug out?"
Daffodils in lawn are always tricky to move, for several reasons: firstly, they are often rooted very deeply, and secondly, it's often hard to remember, in the middle of summer, exactly where they were....
In this case, the obvious thing would be to wait for the digger to arrive on site, and get them to scoop up the bulbs.
However... how many digger drivers do you know, who give a hoot about buried bulbs? They have a job to do, and they often don't have time to faff about being careful of the plants, so in this case, I would suggest that it's better to get the daffs out now.
If I had to do it, this would be my plan:
1) lift the turf over the whole area of the daffs. You can usually see where they have been....
2) start at the edge of the area, and dig out a small trench, with a spade, in the hopes of finding how deep the bulbs are. There is a chance that one or two might get sliced at this point, but hey, there are always going to be casualties.
3) once you have found them, dig out blocks of soil with the spade: turn them upside down, peel off the bulbs.
4) replace the blocks
5) stomp down well
6) add extra soil on top, to make up for what you've inevitably lost by taking the bulbs out
7) stomp down well again.
8) replace turf, water well.
Then clean off the bulbs, put them in the garage to dry - well spread out - then store them until autumn, at which time they can be planted. If the pond has been done by then, they can be planted decorously around the edges: if not, they can be bunged in somewhere else. And you know that when I say "bunged in", I mean "planted carefully and conscientiously, all the right way up, at a proper depth, and in a location where they will give pleasure for many years to come."
As I said, bunged in.
A cheap, quick alternative is to ignore them altogether, let the pond digger do his worst, buy a big bag of new bulbs for a tenner in autumn, to replant around the pond once it's finished: and if any of the originals come up next spring, well, it's a glorious bonus!
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