Focus on: Bulbs for Christmas

BY the time Christmas has reached us, it will feel as though fresh flowers are a distant memory, and the spring seems far in the future.

There is nothing that I love more than a bowl of hyacinths, or a bunch of paperwhites in December – a real treat, and with their sweet smell, a wonderful reminder that spring isn’t so far off after all.

There are, of course, companies which will happily send these to you (my personal preference being those based on the Isles of Scilly, who will send bunches of paperwhites and narcissi very reasonably), but it is of course, very easy to grow your own, and it makes a lovely homemade Christmas present.

All garden centres and a lot of supermarkets will now be stocking spring bulbs, so if you want to save some money this year, and give a gift which will give a lot of pleasure, why not buy some narcissi or prepared hyacinth bulbs, and plant them up in pretty terracotta pots. You can finish this off with a raffia bow.

Depending on the size of the pot, you will need approximately three hyacinth bulbs, but it is not advisable to mix the colours (you can tell which colour the bulbs are, as the bulbs themselves will be different colours). Narcissi can be planted more generously, and you will be able to fit more in the pot (pictured).

Do be careful when planting bulbs, particularly hyacinths, as some people are allergic. You may want to wear disposable gloves when doing this job.