Prepare in advance by creating these natural gifts friends and family will cherish during the cold, winter months. Learn how to pot bulbs that will flower just in time for Christmas.
Prepare ahead if you want to pot up bulbs as gifts that will flower in time for Christmas: August and September are the latest times to plant hyacinth, narcissi and amaryllis bulbs for December flowering. If you time it just right, some of the bulbs will be beginning to open and just starting to release their fragrant perfume as you give them away.
Select the containers and bulbs you would like to use: hyacinths, 'Paper White' narcissi, cyclamen and amaryllis are all good choices.
Lay some crocks in the base of a pot and fill halfway with compost. Shake the pot slightly to settle the soil. Place a bulb, or bulbs, in the pot.
Fill with compost. Plant narcissi at twice their depth, cyclamen and hyacinths with their tips visible and half-cover an amaryllis bulb. Tip: Use peat-free compost: peatlands are a precious habitat to plants, animals and insects. Gardening is one of the greatest threats to peatlands, as most composts are peat-based. Buy "peat-free" or "peat-reduced" compost, or make your own compost.
Firm the earth around the bulbs. Water and label each pot. Keep the potted bulbs cool, and hyacinths in a dark room, until the leaves show.
Excerpted from A Greener Christmas
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2008