Besides the sugar-Jones I’ve got going right now (it’s getting ugly), when Christmas clears out, I crave clean surfaces and greenery. Plants, lots and lots of plants. Houseplants, flowering plants, flowers. It keeps me going in the white, cold wintery months of January and February. I am no stranger to greenhouses during these months…the humidity, the smell of the soil, the lushness. I guess that proves that I am a spring baby at heart. Need my greens.
My paperwhites and amaryllis are kicking into action and I absolutely love watching them creep towards the sky each day. They grow so aggressively that you can virtually see it before your eyes. Total botanical magic. Those little bulbs hit the water, the roots start to meander and KA-POW, the green tendrils are off and running. I. LOVE. THAT.
What I also love about these blooming fiends is that they are an absolute metaphor for the new year, the way I see it. The new shoots and strong flowers always coincide with the beginning of the new year. They are vital, they are colorful, they emerge tall and beautiful. They just look they are ready to start something good. These crazy bulbs are a daily reminder of all the hopes I have for the months ahead.
What can I say, flowers, gardens, greenhouses and all nature of greenery make me a happy gal. Maybe it’s has something to do with my name being April. I was marked from the start.
Earlier in the holiday season, I was in one of my favorite stores and they were giving out these handy little papers about forcing bulbs. As much as I love these flowers, I can never remember how long they take to bloom and invariably, when I do go to purchase them, it’s too far into the season and I will have missed a Christmas bloom. I wish I were that organized to have blooming amaryllis all over my home just at the moment Christmas hits. I always laugh when I see the magazine spreads with their red blooms all over the creation. Yeah, right. Mine stager into the party about 3 weeks late. And frankly, I like that. Gives me a great blast just when snow and ice is all the eye can see.
So, here. I’m going to share a few tips with you. Go snap up some of these bulbs now…the stores still have them and they will bloom in about 6 weeks, just when the winter has almost driven us to the brink.
-some folks hate their smell. I love it. Spicy and arresting.
-STUNT them with ALCOHOL (who knew?) so that they won’t flop and floop all over the place like drunken sailors…pot your paperwhites in stones and water, as you normally would. Once the roots begin growing and the green shoot on top reaches about 1-2″, pour out the water that is in the container. Replace water with a solution of 13 parts water to 1 part vodka. Continue with this cocktail for future waterings.
–paperwhites will take about 3 weeks to bloom
-these babies take about 6 weeks to bloom, but there is no reason why you can’t start one right now. You missed Christmas, but late February is as good a time for an infusion of color as any~Get planting!
To be overcome by the fragrance of flowers is a delectable form of defeat. ~Beverly Nichols