Christmas Planting

I love to gather all my summer baskets and pots and plant them up with winter bulbs bringing their delicate scent into the house over Christmas.

This weekend I have been planting hyacinth bulbs. I set up on an old table outside - undercover just incase it starts to rain. Then I go out foraging in the garden for anything from holly berries, Ivy and hazel catkins to bay leaves, bull rushes and pinecones as well as large quantities of soft, springy green moss.

I like to build large baskets full of bulbs as I find them easy to move around the house when I am entertaining. Sometimes it's kitchen supper, and then at Christmas we will all gather in the dining room and I can take the basket with me. It also makes it easy to move them from the hot parts of the house to bring the flowers on and then moving them somewhere colder once in flower till Christmas.

Start with a basket - whatever size - and fill most of its depth with logs or scrunched up newspaper (or a combination of the two depending on the depth ) to within about 3 " from the top. Taking a few fir branches you can place these just inside the edge of the basket so they flop over and form a pretty edge. Then recycle your John Innes bag, placing this inside the basket, trimming off any excess with scissors and fill it about 2" deep with earth. Take each bulb in turn and dunk it in a pot of water to give it a little moisture and then arrange the bulbs in the basket as you like. Firm up the soil around them.

Next take the moss and place it carefully around the bulbs, tearing it here and there to allow the bulbs to peep through. Sprinkle over a little water- not too much - and take your basket into the house.

Happy Advent......

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