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Ask the Florist: Indoor Gardening for Winter

January bulbs

The lovely thing about being a florist is that come January, the spring flowers flood into flower market. This means I get to buy lots of spring flowers which ordinarily wouldn’t be showing in my garden for another six weeks at the earliest.

I love to bring some of those spring colours into my house.  I particularly like that many of these flowers bloom from bulbs. I ‘pot’ them up into all sorts of pretty containers and dot them about the place – in my kitchen, the sitting room, even the bathroom. Bulbs such as hyacinths, narcissi, muscari (also known as grape hyacinths) and snow drops all grow really well indoors, and what’s more, you get to enjoy a longer flowering period than conventional cut flowers, as they emerge from the bulb and slowly shoot into bloom which takes a week to ten days depending on how much growth in emerging from the bulb when you by them.

January flowers

If you’re super organised you could even start bulbs off in the autumn by bringing them on in a green house before taking into the warm in January or February.  Alas, I am never this organised and so I buy pots of multiple bulbs whenever I want them. You can buy bulbs in plastic tubs from the garden centre or florist and pot them up into your own containers. Weather- worn terracotta pots, tea cups or even old tins can look so pretty all planted up.

Placed along a mantle or on a table, they add a splash of spring in the midst of a cold grey January or February and better still, the scent is gorgeous – the hyacinths and narcissi especially fragrant.

I like to cover the bare soil with a bit of moss and put in supports for when the flowers grow leggy. Here I use a few twigs (from the garden) and push these into the soil which acts as a support as the stems grow. It also looks really pretty in its own right even before the bulbs begin to flower – a bit like a bird cage. As the flowers grow, I tie them onto the twig supports with a bit of twine or wool and these stop the heavy flowering head from falling over.

January indoor gardening

A simple but effective bit of indoor gardening and once one lot of bulbs have flowered I let them dry out in a cold dry spot like a shed and plant out in the garden when the weather’s a bit warmer. They’ll come back and flower in the borders next year.

I often repeat this bulb planting process a couple of times during January and February and often into March until I see spring bulbs appearing in my own garden and am able to pick a few to bring indoors.

Why not have a try yourself? They also make lovely gifts so don’t forget to tell the recipient to plant out afterwards and it will become a gift that keeps on giving!

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