Florence’s Florals: Spring Bulbs

This Tuesday, it’s Florence’s florals, our monthly column by Becky Hay of Blossom with a post that is guaranteed to brighten up this cold January day…

A little late in the month, but Happy New Year to you all. Today I’d like to help you all brighten up a dark January day with the promise of what’s just around the corner… Spring.

Spring bulb flowers such as Hyacinth and Narcissi look good, smell divine, flower for twice as long as a cut flower if they’re left on the bulb, and are extremely wallet friendly. They’re also fat free, perfect for January!

If you have only two pennies, spend the first on bread and the other on hyacinths for your soul.

–Arab Proverb

In October, Rebecca wrote a post on planting bulbs outdoors. If like me however, you’re not one for planning ahead, here’s how to bring bulbs into your home right now.

Pot grown bulbs:
Pots of growing bulbs in compost are currently available to buy from all good florists, garden centres and large supermarkets. The most commonly available are Hyacinths, in pots of 3 bulbs, usually in blue, pink, lilac or white. Other favourites are Narcissi (mini daffodils), Muscari (grape hyacinths), Crocus, Snowdrops, and mini Iris.

You can leave the bulbs you’ve bought in the plastic pot and just pop that directly into a container at home for display. Teapots, mixing bowls, vases, mugs, and jugs are all good shapes.

Alternatively, you can take the bulbs out of the plastic pots and break them up to fit them into smaller receptacles. The bulbs are really tough so don’t worry about tearing the roots apart to squeeze them in.

I like to cover the top of the bulbs with moss. This is available from good florists or for free from the woodlands (if you’re prepared to take a scraper and a carrier bag out on a walk with you)

Turn the container regularly so that the light gets to all sides of the bulbs. This also stops them growing at funny angles. The warmer your house, the faster they will grow. A drizzle of water now and then will be sufficient. Don’t leave them sitting in a boggy pool of compost.

Troubleshooting:
Once Hyacinths are in full flower, they can become top heavy and start drooping. Rather than using ugly cane supports to tie the stems up, collect some broken twiggy branches which look much more natural and will support the stems just as well, (see above). They also add interest when the bulbs aren’t in flower. Alternatively, cut the flowering stems off and pop them in a little vase of water to enjoy their last few days.

Some people can find the scent of hyacinths overpowering, the blue ones have the strongest smell while the white are a little less heady.

Aftercare:
All bulbs can be planted out in the garden once you’ve finished enjoying them inside. Narcissi are the hardiest and are likely top flower again year on year. Hyacinths never flower as well second time round so don’t feel too guilty about putting them in the compost bin.

Tips for enjoying cut spring flowers:
Nothing beats a simple jug of daffodils. Rather than mixing them with anything else, just pop a few twigs amongst them to break up the solid mass of yellow.

If you buy cut hyacinths, avoid cutting the stems as you would with other flowers. This is because hyacinths usually have the cleaned bulb still attached and this will help the flowers last longer in the water.

Change the vase water regularly. Spring bulb flowers leak sap into the water which encourages bacteria to grow rapidly, reducing the vase life of the flowers.
Tulips continue to grow even after they’ve been cut. This is why after a day or two in a vase, they start to droop. When this happens, wrap the tulips up tightly in a piece of newspaper and re-cut the stems at an angle. Pop them into a vase of clean cold water and let them drink for a couple of hours whilst wrapped up. They should stand upright again when they’re unwrapped.

I hope this inspires you all to get a little Spring in your lives this weekend. It’s amazing what a tiny splash of nature can do.

Becky x

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