Sunday, December 26, 2010
I go a little crazy at Christmas...well, winter really. Not to do with the holidays, because I never do much shopping, I mostly make gifts. No, I go crazy in the winter because nothing is blooming, the garden is quiet and static and I cannot get my hands into the soil. One thing that helps is to have some blooms in the house, and I don't mean cut flowers. Every fall for the past 5 years, I have purchased between 25 to 50 paperwhite narcissus bulbs. They are not expensive (don't buy them in a paperwhite kit, a pricey way to go) they are easy to start and quick to bloom. I often plant them in a vase, half filled with gravel and water, with their ends in the water (do not submerge them). Place them near or in a sunny window and voila, in two weeks, they will grow and bloom. I buy so many, because I like to start a few every week to insure months of bloom. Paperwhites are also very fragrant. It is comforting to see and smell flowers in bloom. If you haven't tried starting narcissus, give it a go! The same with amaryllis, which, unlike narcissus, can be summered outdoors and brought back into bloom for a few successive winters.
About 4 years ago, my students gave me this hibiscus. Though the plant loses leaves when brought indoors in the fall, it reliably puts out a bloom or two (sometimes more) each month it is indoors. It is a relatively care free plant- it needs food, water and sunlight outdoors in the summer and just minimal care when inside.
So, if the winter gets you down, try these cheering plants! And remember, the solstice has passed, so days are getting longer now!
Happy Solstice and happy gardening!