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Exclusive: Celebrate Mother’s Day with Sophie Conran’s best bulb tips 9 March, 2010

Posted by CandidaB in Candida's blog.
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Image credit: Candida Balfour

To herald the arrival of Spring,  and prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day, myself and a handful of keen florists joined Sophie Conran at the Clifton Nurseries for a crash course in using bulbs, courtesy of The Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Centre.

Image credit: Candida Balfour

Having the least green fingers of anyone I know, I was dreading falling behind at the first hurdle. Luckily, Sophie was the perfect teacher, and for once I saw gardening and planting bulbs not as rocket science, but as a hobby I could really see myself getting into… Aided, I am sure, by miniature Hummingbird cupcakes and champagne before midday.

Image credit: Candida Balfour

The ideas Sophie presented were pretty much foolproof: take some bulbs, untangle the roots, plant them in soil or gravel in your container of choice and watch them bloom.

If you are using a transparent container, gravel is a great alternative to soil. I for one had no idea that bulbs could grow without soil, but apparently they do just as well in gravel.

If you are using a basket or china pot (my favourite suggestions were a souffle dish or tea cup – a wellington boot was even proposed) normal potting soil will do.

Sophie’s top tips: use the firmest bulbs, cover soil with moss for a stunning final touch, and use old tea bags or gravel to keep moisture in.

The end results were very encouraging. My irises, surrounding a centrepiece of white tulips, bloomed just as they should have, surrounded by green, bouncy moss.

I can now officially garden!

Image credit: Candida Balfour



1. Suzie G - 9 March, 2010

I am always quite daunted by the prospect of gardening but I was inspired to get planting after reading this, thanks for making it sound straightforward!

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