season is not over, indoor bulbs wait
By Thea Steinmetz
Published Nov. 26, 2008
snow is falling on the pumpkins and I am still thinking of planting
bulbs. No, I have no desire to dig in the frosty soil. Although,
a while back on a balmy January day, I planted tulips in the garden.
Low and behold, by end of April they were in bloom. However, the
bulbs I am thinking of at the moment are for our indoor gratification.
Get a bag of good potting soil, a clean pot and start planting.
The first choice that comes to mind is the elegant
and pure white narcissus, “Ziva.” We know it better as the “Paperwhite”
narcissus. This is truly a flower that is adored by many but not
tolerated by others. The fragrance is distinct and strong, while
almost overpowering to some. I had a person leave the room once
where I had these flowers in bloom.
The bulbs are usually available from late fall right
through mid-winter. By planting some a few weeks apart, they can
be enjoyed for longer period. It will take about four to five weeks
after planting before they flower. I do not find their heady scent
unpleasant and thoroughly enjoy having them in the house. It reminds
me of how powerful nature is and even in the frigid season of the
year brings forth a strongly scented flower.
My absolute favorite winter time flower in the home
has to be the glorious “hippeastrum.” Don’t say you never have heard
of this large, lily-like blossom. We know it as the astonishing
amaryllis. I am so daffy about these show stoppers that every year
when they are in bloom I feel like issuing invitations that proclaim:
“The amaryllis are in bloom, it is party time.”
This year I have eleven of the large bulbs set in
decorative pots and half of them already show some growth emerging.
Eight of the bulbs spent the summer outdoors, sort of neglected
under the potting bench. It is not a sure thing that they will bloom
since some of the bulbs have a few years of mileage on them. It
is important not to bury the top of the bulb as it needs to breathe.
Also, do not over-water them, once a week is enough. Over-watering
will result in the bulb becoming soft and mushy and that spells
the end. Freshly purchased bulbs give the greatest assurance of
There is a range of colors with these flowers that
surely will please you. Be it the pure white or the white tinged
with pink on the petals, three to four inches across. The blossoms
are astonishing. There are a number of red varieties available that
will fit any décor for a surprise pop.
The majestic stout stem mostly supports itself but
if not, it needs to be staked to keep it from falling over. As not
all the buds will open at the same time, cutting off the spent ones
will improve the look of the rest of the blossoms. Planted in a
rustic basket or antique urn will customize the look.
A handsomely potted amaryllis in flower makes for
a wonderful growing Christmas gift for anyone that admires beauty.
Look for an attractive container and you might even have one on
hand. Then, plant an amaryllis bulb and cover the top with sphagnum
moss for a neat and finished look.
Whatever happened to the celebration of giving
thanks on Thanksgiving Day? Perhaps, I was less aware of it
in past years but now I think there is some serious disconnect.
It seems to me that some folks made a really big day of Halloween.
Then, the next day all of a sudden Christmas sprang forth with all
it’s commercial glitz.
Where has Thanksgiving gone? Right after Halloween
I was looking for something to trim the festive table. I searched
for anything showing a turkey or a pilgrim on it and all I could
find was Christmas merchandise. Oh, yes, grocery stores have plenty
of turkeys for the table. No shortage here. Perhaps this is a good
time to mention that the average Thanksgiving meal with all the
trimmings has over 3000 calories.
I am still curious of how a tur-duck-en tastes. The
latest on that gastronomic anomaly is that the turkey stuffed with
a duck, then stuffed with a chicken. The latest fad calls for the
addition of sausage with spinach for
the center. Why not throw all of it in sheep and really have
a party or a heart attack. No wonder we all need a nap.
Thanksgiving used to be even a week later until President
Roosevelt moved it up to increase the shopping time between Thanksgiving
and Christmas. The Canadians do even better than that. Their Thanksgiving
is a whole month ahead of ours. That makes sense since it is the
end of the harvest season, and that is what we are celebrating after
all. The growing season is at an end by October.
Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving and remember
we have much to be thankful for, even in these perilous times.