Friday, 21 January 2011

Indoor Bulbs - trade secrets

At Petersham Nurseries last weekend, the kind lady behind the counter gave me an intro to potting up bulbs for indoors.  I feel as if I have peeped behind a curtain and discovered something really useful, so I wanted to share it on the blog.  It's impossible to tell whether anyone else in the world will find it quite as revelatory as me, but here goes. First, Exhibit A - I bought a pair of gorgeous urns (below), intending to plant them up and put them on either side of the mantelpiece.

The only problem was that after about 5 years, I had never really managed to do anything useful with them.  I resorted to stuffing them with some dried flowers in dried oasis.  It looked okay, but missing any real va va voom.

So, at Petersham Nurseries, seeing their gorgeous bulbs potted up, I asked for some advice.  They told me that the bulbs can go in with very little soil, and that they sell layers of the spaghnum moss to finish it off.

With this basic concept in mind, I bought some bulbs, a combination of ones already potted up and dry ones for sale in packets.

The packeted ones were very cheap as technically they are past their time, and have started to sprout.

The next step was foraging around the garden to find any potential pots.  Luckily, as well as the urns, I had some zinc pots waiting for inspiration.

I potted up the bulbs with compost, packed in tightly together, with a moss carpet on top.  This makes so much difference, it turned something quite ordinary into something much more interesting.

You buy it in layers, then break it apart to let the shoot through (no lewd comments on the photo please!)

I can't think how much this might have cost to buy them already planted up (or even to make if the bulbs weren't in the sale!) , but it wasn't a huge dent in the wallet.


Of course, all this enthusiasm will be pointless if they don't flower properly.  As with all plants, I will have to patiently wait and see.

I watered them, put them in the brightest, coldest part of the house, and will keep the blog updated if they work.


  1. Hello, Your containers look lovely, I hope all the bulbs flower for you. Thanks for commenting on my blog ( I did leave an answer) I often have a look here on yours but don't always comment. I know I should as I guess we all like to know someone has stopped by our blogs.
    I noticed that you are having trouble with your strawberries ! how old are they ? as apparently you need to discard them after around 3-4 years and grow some new ones, even from runners from the same plants. I had so many runners last year that had grown really big that I gave away about 50 on Freecycle. Mine will need replacing next year and I will probably put them in a different area of the allotment.
    I read that you went to Garsons Farm ! we love it there, it's 5 mins away from my son's house so we're there every other week. The garden centre and shop are great.
    Have a good week-end

  2. Hi Maureen
    I have just realised that I have not been approving comments for the best part of a year. I just didn't realise that whole section existed. I did occasionally feel a bit sad that I never got any comments, but didn't dwell on it.

    Imagine my surprise when I found all the comments hiding away on a different menu!

    The strawberry plants are at most two years old, so I reckon I am going to keep them in for one more season.

    I loved Garson's, how cool that you live so close.

    Happy blogging!