Enjoying Flowers in and out of Season

The growing season is winding down, but that does not mean that gardeners need to be deprived of the pleasure of gardening.

Fall flower bulbs are now coming on the market, and the easiest bulbs I would suggest to try are Hyacinths. Planted in pots at the end of September or beginning of October, they can be timed or “forced” to flower for Christmas or during the months of January and February.

“Forcing” refers to inducing a plant to produce its shoot, leaf and flower ahead of its natural schedule and out of its natural environment. To force hardy bulbs, you need to mimic and compress the process the plant would undergo outdoors in the garden.

Flowering hyacinth bulbs provide some of the finest plants to be found in any indoor collection of plants as they create a windowsill splendour.

The hyacinth is a member of the large lily family. The upright stem supports tubular florets and the flowers have a lovely and intense fragrance.

When buying bulbs for forcing, you will have better success if you choose to buy the larger-sized bulb varieties. I have found that the blue–purple varieties seem to do better up here, but maybe it’s because they are my favourite.

Try planting hyacinths this month so you can enjoy these delightful plants when the snow is deep upon your garden.

Ingrid Wilcox operates Lubbock Garden and Floral Consultant and offers gardening, greenhouse and flower-arranging workshops. Contact her at [email protected]

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