I have a friend who asked me what bulbs are suitable to grow in glass bowls. I was ready to tell her that it was craziness and of course bulbs need soil to grow in… until I did a bit of research and saw that it was true! Certain bulbs can be grown in a glass bowl or carafe with water in.
Excited by the idea of growing bulbs indoors, rather than having to wait impatiently until spring, I got to work chatting to more experienced gardeners and reading a heap of forums. So my attempt began…
The best bulbs to try this with I’ve found are Hyacinths. T&M do a few different mixtures which are ideal for this type of cultivation. I personally prefer a mixture of colours so would recommend the ‘T&M Mix’ variety.
Whereas others might prefer the rarer, more gothic vibes of the ‘Midnight Mystic’
Either way, perfect for my trial. It’s a brilliant way to conquer not having a large garden, or a garden at all! You just need 3 things; a bulb, glass bowl or carafe and water.
I keep saying glass, but it’s not necessary, it’s just easier when you can see the water level. Checking the water level is crucial as you don’t want the bulb to sit in the water. This can cause the bulb to rot. If you’re using a bowl it would be a good idea to place some pebbles or stones along the bottom and carefully sit the bulbs on top.
You can actually buy hyacinth glasses too which are used for this exact purpose.
Step 1. Fill up the glass to a level just below where the bulb would sit.
Step 2. Rest your bulb on top carefully.
Step 3. Place in a cool, dark place for around 2 weeks.
Step 4. When the roots start to reach into the water, and the shoot is around 5cm in height, transfer to a sunny windowsill to continue growth.
Step 5. Enjoy the amazing fragrance and beauty of your hyacinth indoors!
As a novice gardener I’m slowly building up my experience and trialling new ideas regularly. Not all of it goes to plan, so I’ll see how this one turns out in a month’s time. Let me know if you have tried it before and works well/ doesn’t work so well – I’d love to know!
2014 is all about big planting schemes, perennials doubling up as annuals and falling in love with shrubs again. Here are our top gardening trends…
Begonia ‘Lotto Mixed’
Lots of gardeners are starting to get wise with their planting schemes and choosing plants that give you “more bud for your buck”! Not only are these plants better value than some other choices, but they always cover more ground in the garden. Why grow a few, shy bedding plants when you can grow lovely, big, lush specimens that will act as a natural weed suppressant?
Some examples are huge Begonia ‘Lotto Mixed’, with giant leaves like water-lily pads and lovely big, clear flowers, twice the size of traditional begonias. Sunpatiens is also one to look out for – a mildew-free Busy Lizzie, which is 3 times the size of usual Busy Lizzies in plant size, root system AND flower size!
Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’ Mixed
Thompson & Morgan has also started a bit of a trend in using perennials as bedding. Penstemon ‘Wedding Bells’ Mixed is a perfect example – traditionally known as a cottage garden plant, penstemons actually make an excellent substitute for antirrhinums, they’re free of rust, extra long flowering and available in almost every colour you can think of! Coreopsis and gaillardia also make brilliant ‘double annuals’ with superb drought resistance, tolerating long, hot summers and surviving the coldest of winters too.
Tulip ‘Everlasting’ Mixed
Bulbs that last for years
An occasional complaint with bulbs is they don’t come back reliably each year. With this in mind we had a good hard look and came up with some ‘perennial bulbs’ – specific mixes of tough varieties that come back as reliably as any border perennial. Tulip ‘Everlasting Mixed’ is the perfect example, as is the ultra colourful lily ‘Forever Mixed’. Each of these can last more than 10 years in the ground, unlike many other varieties!
Philadelphus or Mock Orange
Shrubs are making a comeback
For many years, shrubs were seen as the tired old relatives of the border, but now they’re experiencing a revival. They’re so reliable and almost create the backbone of your border, supporting the perennials and annuals that you choose to grow alongside them. Even those shrubs which are seen as ‘parks and gardens shrubbery’ specimens are now being used in gardens – think hebe, philadelphus (for its sticky orange scented blooms) and the colourful, shimmering patchwork of euonymus.