Thursday, 6 October 2011
Time to Order Bulbs
If you want to have a house full of perfume for Christmas, now is the time to buy bulbs for forcing. Many early flowering bulbs need to be planted in September in order to flower in time for Christmas, so we could be a little late! However, if you want to give them for presents it is not necessary for them to be in flower when they are given, it's always lovely to receive a gift that gives pleasure after Christmas and flowering bulbs are one such pleasure. Paper Whites only need planting in November in order to flower for Christmas so we still have plenty of time for them, however, we need to buy the bulbs as soon as possible, and it's never too early to buy some pretty pots to plant them in.
One Christmas I bought a few pretty mugs and planted a few Paper White bulbs in them add a pretty ribbon to the handle and give as presents to teachers at school and anyone else that I felt needed a little thank you. These are quite a nice gift for say the "Lolly Pop" man or woman at school, they must get fed up with all the chocolates and biscuits that they get! School office staff too would welcome a small mug of these pretty and perfumed bulbs, in fact there are so many people who would welcome such a gift as a thank you for their efforts during the year. Another option is to check out second hand shops, charity shops and boot sales for second hand fine china cups and saucers for planting up with some small bulbs, such as miniature iris and crocus bulbs.
Our school hold a Christmas Fair each year and I usually plant up pots of bulbs and donate them for raffle prizes. It is so easy, I buy a few large terracotta pots with saucers, a few sample pots of paint in various shades of white/grey and when the pots are dry plant them up with the bulbs, some moss on top of the soil, a little edible glitter sprinkled on the moss which looks so pretty when the light catches it and finish it off by wrapping in a large sheet of cellophane with a pretty ribbon to hold it together. Cellophane can be purchased from floral suppliers and the roll I bought cost only about £8 and I still have lots of it left over.
The list of flowering bulbs that can be potted up in this way is quite extensive and I would suggest the following:
Amaryllis - one on its own would look good, but three planted together in a pretty bowl or pot would be beautiful, these will take approximately eight weeks to flower after planting.
Tulips - although these will not be in flower for some time a large pot planted up for the garden would make a delightful Christmas gift, as would daffodils, anemones, crocus, iris and hyacinth - and see the impressive selection of colours, I particularly love Woodstock which is a beetroot colour and I have noticed there is now a yellow one called Yellow Queen.
Bulbs are available for sale at garden centres and supermarkets but I prefer to buy my bulbs from Peter Nyssen - http://www.peternyssen.com/ where the selection is wonderful and instructions on how to grow the bulbs. I would suggest ordering early for Paper Whites and the more unusual colours of Hyacinths and Amaryllis because they seem to sell out quickly. Sarah Raven - http://www.sarahraven.com/ is a good source for bulbs and floristry kit.
Alternatively for boxes of scented narcissi for delivery try Isles of Scilly Scented Narcissi - http://www.scentednarcissi.co.uk/ .
Well, I'm off to order my bulbs and start looking around for unusual containers for planting and for painting.