Forcing Paperwhites ~ Not Just for Christmas


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Happy New Year! I cannot believe 2019 is here already and January is almost done. Winter is in full swing in the Midwest and I miss my little garden. Growing up in the Caribbean, and even while living in the South, I was spoiled into having some sort of plant or flower growing in the garden almost all year around. Now living in Minnesota, that is impossible to without a greenhouse— which I do not have one. So in the winter, I move my potted plants to my garage and a few couple of years ago I started forcing bulbs indoors.

Forcing bulbs is a rather new practice for me, only a couple of years old, but I have found it so rewarding. Nothing like blooming flowers in winter. Really gives you something to look forward to in the spring. This year, I forced paper whites. Interestingly, these were a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, as I did not have a chance to do start any this year for Christmas. Is it me or Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye? And I think my MIL noticed because she gave me this kit as a gift on Christmas Day.

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If you are newbie, forcing bulbs indoors is a great way to get your green thumb going because it is almost fail proof. Please notice I said almost not fully fail proof. So, what are my tips from a newbie to a newbie?

  1. Make sure your bulbs are healthy and make sure you pick the right bulb for your first project. I like paper whites because they are super easy to grown. Not all narcissus are created equal, depending on what you want (size vs scent vs flower), I would stay with a more common variety like ‘Ziva’. This is the variety you will find in most premade kits. The beauty about narcissus is that they do not need to be “chilled” a process where you literally chill the bulbs before forcing them out of dormancy.

  2. Select a container that allows 2-4” below the bulb (I love large mason jars) as I find it helps the roots be more stable. To the container, add 1-3” of gravel. Any gravel is good, but I prefer the small pebble kind, like the type you put in fish tank.

  3. Place the bulbs on top of the gravel with the roots down (pointy part up).

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4. .Add enough water to come up to just below the bulbs. BULBS DO NOT LIKE TO SIT IN WATER. Water as necessary, but again— just below the bulb.

5. Put the container in a well lit area. Now, let’s talk light because in winter, your best bet will be on a window sill BUT it is very cold by the window even with a heater on. So, I would place on a table by the window to keep it warmer. Without enough light, your paperwhites will get leggy and sometimes there is no way around that because… winter.

6. In about 4-5 weeks your bulbs will start blooming and the scent of narcissus will waft in the air.

7. Once the bulbs start flowering, you can move them to a cooler area of the house, to keep the flowers longer

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And there you have it. Super easy and super rewarding once they open. Forcing bulbs is a great way to bring spring indoors a bit sooner. The winter months can be brutally long, and I do not know about you but blooming flowers in winter nourishes my soul and gives me something to look forward to until the earth awakes from its long winter slumber. Have a wonderful week!


Five Gardening Podcasts To Get You Through the Winter


Christmas is over and now starts the time I most despise as a gardener in the midwest —  the rest of the winter. Over are the celebrations, the Christmas trees have been put away and now I just wait.  I eagerly wait for spring to wake up from its long winter slumber. 

The time after the holidays is when I do most of my planning for spring and summer.  And one of the things I love doing is listening to podcasts to learn from other gardeners. And today I am sharing with you my favorite five gardening podcasts.

#1 A Way to Garden - Margaret Roach. Many know her as the first garden editor at Martha Stewart, but to me she is the proverbial “The Woman”! I started really following her after I read her book ‘And I Shall Have Some Peace There’ which I highly recommend. The I started following her blog and naturally the next transition was listening to her podcast, A Way to Garden. I just love listening to her, all her gardening expertise, and she always has the most amazing guests.

#2 Slow Flowers - Debra Prinzing. This one is near and dear to my heart as one day my dream is to be a flower farmer. Debra is the host and creator of Slow Flowers. She is the face behind the movement in 2008 to bring attention to the responsible US flower farmers. You can tell she has a story to tell herself, but also about hardworking flower farmers, and educating the public about the US flower market. You can just tell she is very passionate about this topic.

#3 Still Growing - Master Gardner Jennifer Ebeling — aka 6ftmama. Ok, so I first starteed listening to her because she is from Minnesota… and tall like me! :) But soon I was captivated by her passion for sharing her knowledge about gardening. As she puts it, her mission is to bring attention to the “joys of digging in the dirt” and helping people have success in the garden. I love her dedication to really answering questions from her listeners especially in her Facebook group, ans she also has fantastic guests.

#4 The Gardenangelists – Carol Michel from May Dreams Garden & Dee Nash from Red Dirt Ramblings. Each week, join Carol Michel and Dee Nash, both passionate gardeners, authors, and long-time bloggers, as they chat over the garden fence about flowers, veggies, and all the best dirt on gardening. This one is a new one for me, which I learned about from Dee Nash via Twitter and so glad I followed that link because I have enjoyed it so much! It is like sitting at the table with two friends having coffee and talking garden! Pure bliss!

#5 Cultivate Simple - Susy & Mr. Chiots (Brian) discuss their lives, home & garden, and philosophy on living a more simple life and how complex that can really be. Each week a new topics is discussed along with updates from around the run and other features. Future plans include interviews with authors and experts. While gardening is not the specific theme, I love how thy intertwine their lives with the earth in an honest and real discussion about living a simple life.

So, grab a cup of tea or coffee, relax and enjoy these wonderful podcasts. You won’t regret it!


Joining I may be found on one of these link-ups: In a Vase on Monday, Mosaic Monday, Home Sweet Home, Friday Bliss, Home and Garden Thursday, End of Month View(31st of the Month), Blooming Friday, Pink Saturday, Nature Notes, Dishing It & Digging It.