OUT­DOOR DIY

Dig in and wait for an ex­plo­sion of colour.

Homes+ (Australia) - - CONTENTS -

How to plant spring bulbs for a stun­ning and fra­grant show.

GET YOUR GAR­DEN­ING GLOVES OUT – April and May are the ideal months to plant spring-flow­er­ing bulbs, which are equally at home in gar­den beds as pots on the bal­cony, and are also great as liv­ing flow­ers in­doors dur­ing their mo­ment of glory.

Treated as a long-last­ing bunch of flow­ers, flow­er­ing bulbs make a pretty gift or ta­ble cen­tre­piece, com­ing back to amaze year af­ter year. For pots, choose from win­ter-flow­er­ing hy­acinths, Er­licheer jon­quils and minia­ture daf­fodils, spring-flow­er­ing Dutch iris, ra­nun­culi and tulips, or later-flow­er­ing lilies.

YOU WILL NEED TULIP BULBS, $29 FOR 25; HY­ACINTH BULBS, $28 FOR 25; FREESIA BULBS, $4 FOR 25; AND MINIA­TURE DAF­FODIL BULBS, $35 FOR 25, FROM TES­SE­LAAR BULBS; PRE­MIUM POT­TING MIX, $6 FOR 25L, FROM KMART; AND SU­PER­CHARGE BULB BOOST, $11.68 FOR 500ML, FROM BUN­NINGS

STEP 1 Make sure each bulb has clean skin, is free of mould and is firm to the touch be­fore plant­ing. If a bulb feels un­usu­ally light, it may be dry and dead in­side. To grow tulips you’ll need to pop your bulbs in the fridge for four to eight weeks be­fore plant­ing. Since most Aus­tralian re­gions don’t reach tem­per­a­tures low enough to ini­ti­ate flow­er­ing, this re­frig­er­a­tion pe­riod cre­ates a false “win­ter” for the Euro­pean na­tives. Freesias are a good choice for the first-timer – they are very easy to grow and fairly hardy. STEP 2 Don’t plant bulbs up­side down. Iden­tify rem­nant roots from their last sea­son of growth and make sure th­ese point down when you plant them.

STEP 3 Bulbs can grow in soil, pot­ting mix or gravel, so long as they are fed (us­ing bulb fer­tiliser), watered and can drain freely. In pot­ting mix or soil, plant bulbs two-and-a-half-times deeper than the bulb is wide. In gravel, rest them with the bulb ex­posed, but so the roots can grow into wa­ter. Wait pa­tiently – by spring you’ll have a riot of colour at your place!

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