Few forms of amateur gardening have become so popular of recent years as the practice of growing bulbs indoors. This is chiefly owing to the fact that the use of ordinary flower-pots, soil, and drainage can be dispensed with. The bulbs can be brought to perfection in the dwelling-room, planted in tasteful bowls of pulp or china-ware.
A peck of cocoa-nut fibre - or moss fibre, where preferred - will fill half a dozen or more bowls of average size. Moisten the fibre till it is in the right condition for use - do not let it be too wet - and put enough at the bottom of the bowls to make it possible for the bulbs to stand with their tips just above the surface. Mix a few knobs of charcoal with the fibre to keep it sweet, and pack the compost firmly around the bulbs, leaving a margin of three-quarters of an inch or so at the top. The bulbs should not touch each other in the bowl.
A bowl eight inches in diameter will look attractive when filled with six early Roman hyacinths, while three large hyacinths will make up a pretty bowl of the same size. Cream pots are suitable for simple table decoration, planted thickly with snowdrops or with a big tulip in each, and filled up to the brim with fresh green moss.
Another way of growing bulbs is by the use of shell gravel, or even pebbles from the garden path, if washed and sifted. Coarse silver sand can also be used, or the bulbs may. be grown simply in damp moss (with charcoal). When hyacinths are set in glasses, the water in the glasses should be kept so as just to clear the base of the bulb, and a few knobs of charcoal should be placed in the glasses also.
The Chinese sacred lily (Good Luck lily, or joss flower) can be grown simply by standing it in an inch depth of wet pebbles at the bottom of a shallow bowl.
Root Formation If it can be managed, the bulbs may be stood out of doors on a bed of coal-ashes, and covered with a thick layer of cocoa-nut fibre or ashes. If this is done, they will require no water until it is time to bring them indoors. Again, they may be placed in a cold frame or put in an outhouse, but under these circumstances will need water occasionally.
The most usual method for amateurs, however, is to put the bulbs in a dry and airy cupboard or cellar, free from blackbeetles and mice. They should have a thorough watering to start with, and then be examined from time to time and well moistened when necessary.
The delicately perfumed freesia can be grown in bowls Copyright Messrs. fas. Carter & Co.