Connect with us

Xplore Local

Forcing bulbs to flower ahead of time

Published

on

0209939_Debby_Looney_1000x600.jpg

By Debby Looney, gardening expert

It is apparently only a matter of 13 weeks until Christmas is upon us and forcing indoor bulbs requires precision timing!

One of my favourites are Amaryllis, properly known as Hippeastrum which are tall, striking, red or white Lily type flowers we all associate with Christmas. For many years I bought them as cut flowers but now prefer to grow the bulbs. They will be available from the end of October onwards as they must be planted between five and eight weeks before they are needed which is usually, but not necessarily, Christmas.

When you go to buy the bulbs, size is everything. Unfortunately the larger the bulb the higher the cost, but if you buy cheaper smaller bulbs the flowers will also be smaller and weaker. A decent sized bulb for an Amaryllis should be about 15cm in diameter. Place it in an adequately sized container – there should be about 5cm between the edge of the pot and the bulb. Fill the pot with multipurpose compost leaving the neck and shoulders of the bulb above the soil. Place in a bright spot, but away from heat and direct sunlight. Water moderately until growth starts and then start feeding with a liquid feed such as Baby Bio every second week. By Christmas it should be in full bloom. When the flower fades, stop feeding and give it less water until the foliage has turned yellow. Then stop watering altogether as it goes dormant. The bulb can remain in the same pot for about three years, at which point it should need a larger pot.

KICKSTART

Most bulbs need a period of cold weather, ie. winter, to kickstart them into growing. When forcing bulbs to flower ahead of time they need a period of artificial cold, such as a fridge, for a certain length of time which can vary from type to type. Therefore, always buy ‘prepared' bulbs as only these are suitable for growing indoors and have been treated to a cold spell. Hyacinths would be the most popular. I absolutely love the scent. I start planting them now, in two week intervals so that I have a continuous display for about six weeks. Gloves are recommended as hyacinth bulbs can cause skin irritation. Plant in free draining compost or preferably bulb fibre if you can get it. As with all bulbs used for indoor display, they can be planted close together but not touching each other or the sides of the pot. Ensure the top of the bulb is just visible. Keep hyacinth in a cool dark place such as a garage for about 10 weeks to allow root formation. At this point a shoot should also have grown. Place the pot in a bright spot indoors and about four weeks on they should be flowering. There are also special cases and pots available for hyacinths - I really advise having a look on the Internet and getting creative!

Other bulbs, such as grape hyacinths (muscari), dwarf daffodils, paperwhites, crocus and snowdrops can also be used for an indoor display. As with the hyacinths, these bulbs need 10 weeks of cold, dark conditions which mimics nature to trigger root growth and subsequent flowers. Using old teacups, teapots, soup bowls and even gravy boats can be an attractive way of displaying indoor or outdoor arrangements. Lining glass jars or vases with moss – the nice side facing out - before filling with compost is another way to create a cost effective yet pretty pot. Tie a festive ribbon around it and you have a lovely gift. Remember that press full of old mismatched and unwanted Christmas crockery? Well, plant them up – they will make great gifts too!

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Tourism VAT rate should be “continued indefinitely”

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its […]

Published

on

0247235_cllr-michael-cahill-kerry-county-council-fianna-fail-featured-image.jpg

A Kerry Fianna Fáil Councillor believes the current 9% tourism VAT rate should be continued indefinitely despite “the allegation that some hotels were not passing on the saving to its customers”.

The reduced VAT rate of 9% was introduced by the Government in response to the challenges posed by COVID-19 to the hospitality sector.

“I believe a return to a 13.5% Tourism VAT rate would be counterproductive at this stage, to small and medium businesses that welcome visitors to our country and our county,” Councillor Michael Cahill said.

“Catered food is already charged at 13.5%, alcohol at 23% and accommodation presently at 9%. This sector is providing pretty decent returns to the Exchequer and should be supported. All parties in this debate, including the Government and accommodation providers, should review their position and ensure their actions do not contribute to ‘killing the Goose that laid the Golden Egg’.”

He explained that the tourism industry is “in a very volatile market”, as can be seen by the enormous challenges “posed by COVID-19 in recent years”.

“A grain of rice could tip the balance either way and great care must be taken not to damage it irreparably. We are all aware that the next six to 12 months will be extremely difficult for many businesses with the increase in the cost of oil and gas, etc,, and a return to the 13.5% VAT rate will, in my opinion, close many doors. If a minority are ‘price gouging’, then it should be possible to penalise them and continue to support the majority who offer value for money to our visitors.”

Continue Reading

Xplore Local

Katie wows with stunning monochrome image

By Michelle Crean The theme was ‘Monochrome’ and there were plenty of captivating and diverse entries in Killarney Camera Club’s first competition of the year. 28 amateur entries looked great […]

Published

on

0249610_Katie_AnglandDiamond_Fusion.jpg

By Michelle Crean

The theme was ‘Monochrome’ and there were plenty of captivating and diverse entries in Killarney Camera Club’s first competition of the year.

28 amateur entries looked great as they used their skills in the Unrestricted and Novice categories.

“Thanks to everyone who entered and congratulations to the top three, in both the Unrestricted and Novice categories, and especially to Katie Angland with her first competition entry entitled ‘Diamond Fusion’, which won both categories,” PRO of Killarney Camera Club, Deirdre Donohue, said.

“Katie took this photo on one of her first days out with her camera. It was taken at Millstreet Horse Trials in June 2022 during the dressage phase of the CCIYH 2*. The horse pictured is Diamond Fusion ridden by Sarah Ennis.”

You can check out all the competition entries on www.killarneycameraclub.ie. The club continues to meet fortnightly on Thursday via the Zoom online platform but they now have resumed a monthly Thursday meeting in The Brehon Hotel, Killarney.

“New members are always welcome and for any further details, please email secretary@killarneycameraclub.ie.”

Continue Reading

LOCAL ADS

Last News

Advertisement

Sport

Trending