Every day, whatever the season or the weather, nature is busy at work growing it’s bounty for us. All through the cold, long days ahead, shrubs will be busily using the energy stored from last season to multiply, and to produce those bulbs that will delight us in the spring with the first glimpse of foliage, then snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and bluebells.
Shrubs are best planted in the autumn so they can establish themselves before the spring. So now is the time to plan and prepare for the new year!
I have cheated this year and bought a couple of ready planted hanging baskets from a local farm, but for Bronni’s house, we planted up some baskets with cyclamen, pansies, primula and a mix of bulbs, which will work their way through the plants when the time is ripe.
We’ve already spoken of bulb planting, and my hyacinth are taking root and beginning to shoot, my indoor bulbs are now resting in the cool and dark until they are ready to sprout, and yay! my potatoes, in the greenhouse so they don’t drown, are busy shooting up and I’m trying to keep on top of them by earthing them up (a process of putting on more soil as they grow without covering the new growth totally). Still not convinced I’ll get potatoes but no harm in trying!
It’s not too late to plant some bulbs, so perhaps try planting up a pot of narcissus in a pot you can bring indoors, or some hyacinths placed on top of a glass with water about 1cm below the bulb. Watch its roots grow first and then wait for the flower to emerge – lovely for children to see but beware – hands should be washed after handling these particular bulbs as they can contain toxins.
I was listening to Radio 4 the other day, and they suggested planting pots of bulbs up with different layers of bulbs so that you have a continuous show of various flowers – or perhaps tulips with forget-me-not. This is what I have done in a number of mine, so hopefully in the spring we will be able to share photos of each others successes!
We would love to know your tricks for growing winter crop potatoes – do you use bags, tyres or grow in ground? And what are your favourite mixes of bulbs in the garden or in pots to bring some winter cheer?