Seasonally inspired things to Make, Learn & Do.

Journal

How to force small spring bulbs indoors

spring bulbs

When we think of growing Spring bulbs indoors we often think of hyacinths and paper white narcissi, maybe amaryllis. We think of the pots of ready planted, often quite boring, bulbs that line garden centre shelves at Christmas.

But all spring bulbs can be grown to flower indoors and, given our weather and the fact that they are often tiny, it is often the best way to actually see them properly.

At this time of year my home is full of flowering bulbs - I use them to help me through the part of the year which is darkest, they bring a bit of nature into my daily life. My favourites for January are snowdrops and crocus.

You can grow bulbs specifically for flowering indoors - this involves careful monitoring of temperature and light. I am not good at keeping track of things so instead I use 2 cheats ways of bringing spring flowers indoors.

arranging spring bulbs

Bulbs that transplant in the green - snowdrops, bluebells, snowflakes.

The first method that I use is to dig actual bulbs out of my garden as soon as I see them beginning to shoot and to carefully transplant them into containers for the house.

This is an ideal method for any bulbs that like to be transplanted 'in the green' (i.e. immediately after flowering) as you can bring them into the house to flower and then return them to the garden afterwards without damaging the plant.

  • Choose a clump of bulbs where you can see the flowers are already there.
  • Carefully dig up going much deeper than you think with your trowel - bulbs will drag themselves deep into the soil so they may well be much deeper than when you planted them - wiggle your trowel to make sure you are under the bulbs and not just going to dig out the flowers.
  • Put 2-3 cm grit into your container and then wedge your bulbs on top. You don't want to disturb the bulbs too much - you want them to be packed together as they will then hold each other up. The container doesn't need to have drainage.
  • Cover the soil with gravel, moss or dried leaves.
  • The arrangement will last longer if you can keep it cool - I compromise by having them in a heated house during the day and then on the doorstep overnight. The warmer it is the taller the flowers will get.
  • Once the flowers begin to fade plant back in the garden - either directly where they came from or separate into smaller clumps.

arranging spring bulbs

Bulbs that like to be planted as dry bulbs (crocus, grape hyacinths, snakehead fritillaries)

The other method is to start with potted bulbs. You can either buy them from a garden centre (the outdoor bit) or you can plant your own in Autumn and thenbring them indoors. These crocus have been my favourite flowers so far this year and they were bought as pots intended for putting together a spring planter and were less that £1 a pot.

  • If you are growing your own bulbs you need to plant into small pots or trays (mushroom trays work well) in the Autumn - leave somewhere sheltered but outside and protect from slugs and mice.
  • If you are buying pots, look for good deals in garden centres and supermarkets - they are usually intended as spring bedding so can often be bought cheaply in bulk. My favourites are crocus and snakehead fritillaries.
  • Add 2-3 cm grit to the bottom of your container and replant your bulbs into the container. Water sparingly.
  • Stagger your pots - leave some in the cold and bring others into the warmth to bloom, they will respond to the heat, the ones outside will stay in suspended animation, the ones indoors begin to flower.
  • After they have finished flowering you can plant them outside - they will recover but make sure they are watered for their first few weeks back in the soil. If you haven't got a garden then these make the ideal guerrilla gardening plants.

I love being able to look carefully at these tiny flowers - to see the delicate markings of the snowdrops, to actually be able to appreciate the purity of the crocus without them being splatted to the ground in a rainstorm (crocus in my garden look like litter 95% of the time because of the weather). I hope that you enjoy them too.

Comments: 1 (Add)

Lesley (Insta lilybabylulu) on January 19 2019 at 08:58

Thank you so much for sharing Jane. I have some snowdrops just budding in the garden which will later need dividing. Today I shall bring some indoors 😁

Snapdragon social

Between the plum trees and the studio is a sloping space that was created when we flattened a patch of land to build. It is a mix of subsoil, rocks and odd seams of rich pasture land. ⠀
⠀
As grass began to grow there about 7 years ago,  I sowed a perennial meadow mix, I planted lots of random plants from the cutting beds, I worked without a plan, without knowing what would thrive and what would gently vanish. ⠀
⠀
Now there is minimal gardening involvement - I try and keep the nettles from taking over, we dig out brambles - and in the autumn and winter I lure the chickens there to scratch out patches of bare soil for the wildflower seeds. ⠀
⠀
It’s a patchy space, caught on the cusp of abandonment - but it is the most beautiful space in the garden, buzzing with insects, rustling with birds. ⠀
⠀
Low light, bright petals, setting sun. ⠀
A couple of days ago I got a message from a friend asking what I thought about all the 'picking wild flowers' photos on here and the fact that a country style magazine was promoting it as a
My Gran had hangers like these.  Knitted from odds and ends of wool, hanging softly squashed together in the big dark wardrobe in her bedroom.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
My cousin and I would take the fancy silky 1960s dresses from them and transform ourselves into glamorous detectives, spying on passers-by from behind the net curtains, making notes.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
Now the hangers are my favourite things to make from wool scraps - each takes 37 grams of wool and you only need to be able to do a plain stitch to make it. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
As well as being chock full of nostalgia for me, they are also the most practical kind of hanger, as the garter stitch keeps even the flimsiest of straps in place so clothes don’t end up on the floor.
⁠⠀
This week's business improvement was deciding to make the postcards that go in with orders more useful, getting Kate Stockwell to turn them into activity cards for me. ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
This is the first, going out with orders from today.⁠⠀
⁠⠀
⁠⠀
I’m always amazed at how many plants from sunnier climes take to the garden. ⠀
⠀
Sicilian honey garlic - Nectaroscordum siculum - is one of the plants that grow in rows in the orchard - ghosts of the flower field, buzzing with bees, happy in grass, a strong whiff of onion as I pass. ⠀
⠀
⠀
This month I’ve been experimenting with solar dyeing- using plants and sunlight and a jar to dye wool on the windowsill. 
I was amazed at what bright shades were possible and at how easy and self contained it turned out to be. 
It was part of the Studio Membership mini “Introduction to plant dyes” course but I’ve also put together a kit in the shop with full instructions and everything you need to get started with solar dyeing wool (there are mini skeins in the kit). The photo is my drying rack on the dye deck - part of the studio where I used to prep flowers when I sold them. 
The wood rack used to be for shoes and wellies.
Inspired by @josephinepbrooks I’m still using this time for some serious decluttering of my business - looking hard at which parts have descended over the years into one of those drawers stuffed full of things.  Which bits are muddled, useless, impossible to open without everything falling out. 
Last week was the turn of the blog - so many out of date things, so many broken links, pretty much impossible to browse. 
Now it’s been sorted out - David and @fuzzyjill at Fuzzy Lime helped me divide it into sections and now it’s all easily accessible from the navigation bar.

So if you are looking for tutorials, nature notes, gardening, recipes or musings on life you can find them without scrolling through hundreds of pages. 
And - as always seems to happen when you  declutter - I’m suddenly full of ideas for things to write about, so that I can fit them nicely into my new space! 
The poppies are from Friday’s blog about how they make wonderful cut flowers.
Another week. Another new morning 
I was chatting to a friend yesterday about what was the best thing about running my own business - and I decided that it was probably being excited about each day and all the things I want to do. ⠀
⠀
That I now rarely need to force myself. ⠀

Today it’s finishing off this week’s Studio Members lesson about solar dyeing and putting together these activity postcards which I am getting printed to go out with orders. ⠀
⠀
What are you looking forward to doing today?
snapdragon.life
FacebookTwitterPinterest

About Snapdragon

At Snapdragon we gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

Through our communities, both free and paid for, through Jane's writing on the blog, through carefully hand crafted gifts and activity kits, and through our online and in-person workshops we aim to bring people back in touch with the rhythms of a seasonal life.

Learn more about why here

Loading