Gifts of na­ture Clever ways with hy­acinths

Hy­acinths will fill your home with a won­der­ful fra­grance and glo­ri­ous colour, and they make lovely Christ­mas presents

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents -

Hy­acinths are usu­ally the her­alds of spring, but it’s pos­si­ble to en­cour­age the bulbs into bloom in the last months of the year in time for Christ­mas. To do this, choose spe­cially treated bulbs – look for the word ‘pre­pared’ on the la­bel. Then plant in soil in pots or place in a glass hy­acinth forc­ing vase. If you’re using a forc­ing vase, re­move as much dirt as pos­si­ble from the bulb, pour some wa­ter into the bot­tom of the vase and place the bulb in the top. The body of the bulb shouldn’t touch the wa­ter but let the roots hang down and reach it. Keep the hy­acinth in a cool, dark spot, cov­ered if pos­si­ble, and when there are plenty of roots and the sprouts are show­ing, move it to some­where brighter. Soon, the sprouts will be­gin to shed their cov­ers, which means it is time to re­move them, and the fra­grant flow­ers will be­gin to un­fold.

A BEAU­TI­FUL AR­RANGE­MENT

Team cut hy­acinths with aro­matic leaves such as eu­ca­lyp­tus for a stun­ning bou­quet with a won­der­ful scent

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1 MAKE A SEAT It’s im­por­tant that hy­acinth bulbs don’t come into con­tact with wa­ter and forc­ing vases are de­signed to stop this. If you don’t have one, use a jam or mar­malade jar in­stead and con­struct a small scaf­fold for the bulb, made of four small twigs. Sim­ply tie them to­gether with string and en­sure it’s the right size for the bulb to sit on, lay it on the jar and put the bulb on top 2 FILL A CRATE Cre­ate a beau­ti­ful ar­range­ment by plac­ing hy­acinths in forc­ing vases, clear glass and empty mar­malade jars into the sec­tions of a crate 3 PRETTY DIS­PLAY If a cou­ple of flow­ers break off, don’t let them go to waste. Put them in a vase of wa­ter, and cre­ate a rus­tic dis­play by adding lichen or twigs

4 FULL BLOOM Hy­acinths come in a wealth of va­ri­eties, of­fer­ing a fan­tas­tic mix of flow­ers, colours and shapes. Gather to­gether a col­lec­tion in a braided bas­ket. Just place a bowl or plate be­neath and it will work per­fectly as a vase See p174 to or­der free pe­onies. Just pay p&p

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