Successful bulb `forcing`
There`s no doubt that bulb flowers are one of the greatest joys of Spring but it`s quite possible that Spring flowers are even more greatly appreciated when they appear ahead of schedule in Winter. They bring loads of colour and cheer to an otherwise cold Winter day. It`s the best antidote for the Winter doldrums that we`ve ever found. And it`s a lot of fun too! The process by which bulbs are brought into flower early, is called “forcing“ and, despite the name the process is actually gentle, easy and very rewarding.
Many types of bulbs can be `forced` into early flower and some of our favourite choices include:
Daffodils (the dwarf varieties are far better than the taller ones)
fragrant Paperwhite `Jonquils` Grape Hyacinths
Spring Star flowers
Snow drops (Leucojum)
Blue bells and
fragrant Hyacinths (especially the vigorous blue & pink varieties).
There are only four main reasons why forced bulbs fail. If you understand each of these, there`s no reason why you can`t enjoy great success.
Bulbs can also be grown very effectively on bowls of gravel:
One of our favourite ways of forcing bulbs is by growing the miniature Daffodil Tete-a-Tete on bowls of gravel. It looks sensational! All we do is get a shallow bowl (without holes) and fill with attractive smooth white gravel and sit the bulbs on top. We then fill the bowl with water so that the top of the water sits just below the base of the bulbs. We then keep the pot in a cool spot (just under the verandah or in the bathroom) until the flowers come into full bloom. It`s just so easy with the mini Daffodils but so effective.
Note: The bulbs need to be discarded after flowering since they`ve exhausted themselves for this process.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
For some reason this morning I thought about these little hyacinth vases we used to sell years ago when I worked in a plant nursery where you could grow hyacinths inside over water. With the beautiful power of google, I came accross this article by Tesselaar's about "bulb forcing" or growing bulbs at the wrong time of year and under certain conditions to keep in the house. It turns out some people are really into this and have pages and blogs dedicated to their collections of bulb/hyacinth vases and methods they use. Co-incidentally, the ideal time for starting a project like this in Australia is right now, the 1st of Feb according to Tesselaar's or shortly after. I think I might give this one a go...