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I’ve been digging out big clumps of grape hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) from a client’s garden this morning, where they’d formed great grassy swathes and looked a bit like hairy wigs.

Before you think I’ve gone entirely crazy – what, digging up spring bulbs in spring? – this is actually a great time of year to do this job. I happened to know from last year that a lot of these muscari were coming up blind – that is, lots of foliage but no flowers. It’s a general tendency most spring bulbs have if they’re doing a little too well and have formed big, congested clumps. The only remedy is to dig up the clumps and remove about 3/4 of the bulbs, then replant.

The thing about doing it at this time of the year is, you can see the flower buds forming at the base of the leaves, so you can tell which clumps are blind and which aren’t. They don’t mind being hoicked out and replanted, even in flower – just water them back in and they’ll get on with things as if they’d never been disturbed.

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