Plants as Presents
Plants make excellent presents, for they are both fun to grow and inexpensive to buy. Few things will give more pleasure to a relative or friend than a present ofthat a child has taken the trouble to grow himself.
Bulbs grown in an attractive bowl are always welcome as Christmas presents. It is possible to buy hyacinths and other bulbs that are specially prepared to flower at this time. Plant them in damp fibre in late September, and keep them in a cool, dark place for about ten weeks, watering occasionally to keep the fibre just moist. By the beginning of December the bulbs should have produced strong shoots. Bring the plants into the daylight and gradually give more heat until they are used to normal room temperature.
Bulbs can also be grown for anyone who has a birthday in early spring. For summer birthdays, plan to have some annuals in flower and make up a bunch of as many varieties and colours as possible.
Daffodils are a beautiful present for Mother’s Day. Although the date of this festival changes from year to year, being the fourth Sunday in Lent, it always falls at a time whenare in bloom. Plant the in a sheltered, fairly shady corner of the garden in late summer or autumn, and by early spring there should be a fine display of yellow flowers, which will last until April.
These make good presents, for the wonderful scent will linger for months. Cut the lavender at the beginning of July, before the flowers are fully open, tie the stems together, and hang them to dry in the airing cupboard for a few days. Meanwhile, make some small bags of fine muslin or nylon. Then rub the flowers from the dried lavender and fill the bags. Wear a handkerchief over the nose like a mask when rubbing the flowers, as the dust that rises from them can be most irritating. Tie the bags tightly with a gaily coloured ribbon. Lavender is usually grown from small bushes that can be bought from nurseries. The bushes should be planted in September or March.