In order to be completely transparent about this blog post id like to say up front Empathy did bung me a couple of packets of their mycorrhiza Rootgrow and Bulb Starter for gratis. They haven’t chucked any money at me (not that id object if they did) and they have neither sought nor have I given them any say over what is written here. Right! now we’ve got all that awkwardness out of the way, I’ll begin!
Some of you may remember the absolute trauma I had with some of my Snowdrop bulbs in the spring of 2019. Possibly due to the ridiculous heatwave of 2018 or to be honest any number of reasons I lost around 50% of my special snowdrops including 7 bulbs of Wendy’s gold that I had been treasuring since 2016. One thing I did know wasn’t the problem was Narcissus Bulb Fly.
This horrid little blighter lays its eggs at the neck of your bulbs and the maggots burrow down to eat the bulb from the inside out. Below is one I found just the other day at Ulting Wick. It is of this earth no longer!
I started trying to find the cause of my sudden bulb death as it wasn’t just the really rare ones that I lost, on tipping ‘Magnet’ out I discovered 2 very sad sorry wasted looking bulbs struggling to hold onto life. Thankfully the Alpine Garden Society published an article detailing experiments with mycorrhizal fungi by the late David Way. Several well respected Snowdrop people were involved.
To sum it up glibly in a few words, mycorrhizal fungi added to Snowdrops ‘in the green’ when potting up can massively improve growth, bulb health etc. Even better if you can provide the mycorrhizal fungi a host, such as grass, to attach itself to once the bulb goes dormant.
This is where Serendipity kicked in, in the form of the Garden Press Event.
After chatting to the chap at Empathy about their Rootgrow product I asked if it was suitable for use with bulbs as well as perennials and trees. He immediately told me that they did a specific product for bulbs and would I like to try some out? Of course, id be delighted I replied and so here we are a year on with the results of the said trial!
Now of course my results are not really scientific, I didn’t really have a “control”, different snowdrops grow differently to others. Some were potted up before the bulb starter arrived, others after. There were different potting mixes involved etc. However I can unequivocally say that the bulbs which I used the Bulb Starter on did way better than the ones I didn’t.
The top growth, amount of flowers, size and amount of bulbs produced and root formation is just stunning!
And finally the proof of the pudding etc… The smallest amount of bulking up was 3 excellent sized bulbs from 1 and the most ridiculously good result was from Trumps which gave me 6 good sized bulbs! SIX!!