Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Flower of the Season - Winter 2010

Over the past winter I have sojourned to Melbourne on many occasions and wound up in the charming inner city suburb of Clifton Hill. It was always such a pleasure on a bleak grey day to wander down Queens Parade, poking my head into various cute little shops, cafe late in hand. However, nothing would send my head spinning with delight as much as the heady whiff of jonquils in great overblown bunches, sitting prettily in buckets on the footpath, just waiting for someone to carry them home to a snugly winter living room.....

Jonquils are my very favourite of all winter flowers....the come along just when the world seems quite cold and dead and liven things up with their colour and their intoxicating scent. And from an old fashioned gardening perspective, they are so very easy to grow !! Simply plant your bulbs in the ground and let nature surprise you come the cold chilly season. When I was born, my mother recalls coming home to our old farm homestead with her new baby, and finding the garden lawn brimming with swaying jonquils. They do so well planted, old fashioned like, under a buffalo lawn.... while the lawn is dormant (and where I live, frost bitten) up come the jonquils....and by the time the spring growing season is upon us, the jonquils are about finished and can be simply mown over with the lawn mower when it requires it's first haircut. Alternatively, they look marvelous popping up through violets, or planted alongside freesias in contrasting colours like red, or purple.

My only suggestion pertaining to the growing of jonquils is that you allow as much time as neat garden appearance will allow you, to let the jonquils die back naturally. It is at this time that they are storing energy for the next flowering season and they are drawing nutrients to do so from the spent leaves of this season. It's hard to resist the temptation to lop off scraggly leaves, but hang out as long as possible....or if you bulbs are in a pot, pop them somewhere discrete !! Jonquils love sun, and well draining soil with moderate water. And give them a little loving care and they will reward you with days and days of happy winter cheer !!

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