Monday, 25 March 2013

Snowdrop (25 MAR 13)

The year before last I planted fifteen galanthus bulbs, then fifteen more last year before Christmas. I wish I could propose that fifteen is the gardener’s dozen, but there is only one bloom to date, the same one as last spring, acclimatising well to the wet conditions considering that there was a drought predicted during its last incarnation.

raindrop
 

I’m fairly disciplined when it comes to labelling plants especially herbaceous ones, but I draw the line at labelling individual bulbs (unless they are one-offs like the purpley-black persica fritillaria or picaso calla lily – also noted by their absences so far). It was probably my science lessons at school where I learned to label everything (contents & date) rather than from watching my gardening mother. She didn’t keep a diary, shopping or to-do list (so she couldn’t afford to procrastinate). She owned a telephone book but hardly needed it and prided herself with her skills in mental arithmetic, as she grew up in times when people relied on their brains more than today. The main difference between our mind-sets though was that she believed that everything she had to do in life was important, whereas I feel I’m still trying to find a purpose. It never occurred to her to label her plants.

I wouldn’t be able to tell you where my daffodils are planted, I’ve forked through them so many times it's a surprise that they still pop up. I can locate the tulips, only because they are spaced like a row of soldiers in the border in front of the kitchen window. No doubt they’ll be saluting me soon.

However, I do remember where I planted the drifts of galanthus in random patterns. Maybe it’s because they are unfinished business ...

Bluma Zeigarnik was a Russian lady psychologist who carried out experiments based on the observation that waiters were more likely to remember unpaid orders. Her tests showed that, in general, people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. The Zeigarnik effect is often given credit for the success of suspense thrillers, cliff-hanging soap operas, video games and advertising campaigns which rely on the fact that the human brain has evolved to finish what it started. It even suggests that students preparing for exams who engage in sports or other extra-curricula activities are more likely to absorb their revision, as long as they are motivated, compared to those who study non-stop. However, other researchers who tried to replicate Bluma’s experiments did not draw the same conclusion, possibly due to the motivation factor.

My conclusion is that I remember what I want to and if one bulb flowers out of thirty then it motivates me to keep track of the remaining twenty-nine.


snowdrop

On the other hand, I certainly wont forget this galanthus in a hurry, even though it has completed its task. I wonder if Bluma was alive today, would she hypothesise that weather interrupting the bloom makes it more memorable ?

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9 comments:

Pam's English Garden said...

Only one of my snowdrops bloomed this year, too, and I was so grateful to see it. Bluma's hypothesis apart, the never-ending snow certainly makes mine more memorable. P. x

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but isn't our Psycho-lady friend merely stating the blooming obvious? Waiter's would be out of a job pdq not bothering about whether customers paid their bill. And Charles Dicken's was all over the Cliff-hanger effect a tad before Ms Bluma et al. Psychology and the rest of that 'Industry' really do corner the market in getting money for old rope imo.

HolleyGarden said...

I planted snowdrops for the first time this year. I have been very careful not to dig around where I planted them. I thought my being extra careful was mostly due to my feeling they are a bit 'special', with all the galathophiles waxing poetic about them. (peer pressure?) But now you make me wonder if it's because of the Zeigarnik effect! I hope your other 29 snowdrops bloom for you as soon as the weather gets a bit better!

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

Your photos capture the snowdrops moment in the sun, then triumph of the snow. They become the memory you remember. They are nice photos too.

Andrea said...

I am quite amused with your discussions today, first the differences between two generations, reminding me of mine, haha. Mother always stick to the ground whatever tops i cut, she doesn't want anything going to waste. But she doesn't care where she stuck them, forgets, and eventually i will either see them growing in areas I don't want them to, so sometimes i pull them out, anyway she doesn't remember where they are!

About the snowdrop, it is one flower i loved at first sight, and am waiting from blogs like yours because we don't have them. Somehow, i join everybody from the temperate world for their winter to finish, maybe for them to get warmer, but for me to see my snowdrops. Thanks for visiting.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

I say yes from experience last year and the weather not allowing plants to bloom....I am not good at labeling but I remember now where most things are, and I tend to not have too many lists....I like using my brain more too and gardening tends to keep mine sharp.

Your snowdrop is a trooper under that snow.

Alistair said...

Hi b-a-g
Great shot of the lonesome Snowdrop. I would look upon your experience as an experiment that proves the very old story that Snowdrops just have to be planted in the green for true success.

b-a-g said...

Thanks all for your comments - and for your tip Alastair. I guess I should have expected limited success from dried out old bulbs bought in a sale.

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

I've always had very mixed experiences with snowdrops, though apparently a clump in my old garden that I had thought a complete failure has done wonderfully well flowering profusely this year! So maybe next year your solo performer will have friends. Lovely photos.

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