Bulbs to light up a bleak midwinter
With Diarmuid Gavin
Last week I wrote about preparing for spring with a selection of bulbs to whet your appetite. This week I’m going to tell you how you can bring spring to your house in mid- winter with a bit of forward planning. I’m referring to the practice of “forcing” bulbs to flower ahead of their time. By planting now and into October, you can have wonderful scented and colourful flowering displays indoors by Christmas.
They also make great Christmas gifts and you can save yourself a fair few quid by doing the preparation now, instead of buying them readymade in December.
First, you need to purchase some hyacinth bulbs – you are looking for “prepared” ones as these have already been subjected to a cold spell to trick them that they are half way through winter.
If you are choosing different varieties, don’t mix them up as they can flower at different times.
The packaging will give you approximate times for flowering so keep this info handy.
You’ll also need some bulb fibre or multi- purpose compost.
Bulb fibre contains some charcoal which keeps the compost sweet by absorbing gases and this is particularly useful if you are using bowls which have no drainage holes.
Next your container… here’s where you can be inventive and creative.
Simple terracotta pots are always lovely and can be jazzed up for Christmas by using gold or silver sprays or red ribbons. A lovely way to personalise a gift is to spray the recipient’s initial on the pot using a stencil.
There are plenty of household items that can be upcycled, and for this pro-