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September is the time to plant spring flowering bulbs in the garden but it is also possible to ensure that you have the fresh scent of spring at Christmas by forcing bulbs.

Hyacinth

Choose bulbs marked ‘prepared’ and plant in pots of multi-purpose compost or bulb fibre with the bulbs close to eachother but not touching. Their tops should be just showing at the surface. Water well and place in a black bin liner in a dark, cool space such as a shed or garage.

Check and water regularly to prevent the compost drying out. Once the shoots are around 5cm/ 2in high move the pots into a cool room out of the light. When the leaves have become green move the pots to a light and warm space. Place the pots on shallow trays of moist gravel to provide humidity and continue to water.

Hyacinth bulbs can make interesting features when grown in bulb glasses that display their root systems. Keep the water level just below the bottom of the bulb.

Narcissus ‘Paper Whites’

Choose bulbs sold for growing indoors and plant in pots of compost with the tips just below the surface. Simply water well and leave on a sunny windowsill.

Amaryllis

Choose the largest bulbs and plant in a pot of compost with the top third showing. Place in a bright place without direct sunlight and keep moist. Once shoots grow keep turning the pots to make sure that stems grow straight.