Extending the Season
“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”.
~ Lao Tzu
Now that the temperatures have fallen gardeners start turning their thoughts to indoor activities. Yes, there still remains a few outdoor must dos like leaf raking, storing hoses, patio furniture, etc. and getting those Spring bulbs into the ground but the hours of working outside are limited. With the holiday season approaching many gardeners like to give presents to friends and family that reflect their shared passion for plants.
A simple and fun project is to ‘gently coax’ ( forcing them seems so brutal! ) Spring bulbs to extend the season. I have been experimenting in preparation for the gifts I plan on giving this year. I like to gather decorative containers and I particularly like glass filled with sea glass, pebbles and an assortment of colored glass available at craft stores. While perusing the internet on this subject I came across several resources and I have included them here: http://www.oldhousegardens.com/ForcingBulbs.aspx?SearchCriteria=Forcing+Bulbs and http://www.gardeners.com/Growing-Bulbs-Indoors/5158,default,pg.html. What really delighted me was to discover that one can still purchase hyacinths forcing vases from Pairpoint, a Cape Cod tradition for generations located in Sandwich, MA.
For my project I chose amaryllis, Paperwhite daffodils and hyacinths, all easy candidates for forcing. The links above provide information if this is a new activity for you. So, gather your supplies and extend the gardening season for you and your friends. The photo above shows some paper whites ‘planted’ about three weeks ago. With less than six weeks or so until Christmas it is not too early to begin your preparations. Amaryllis can take up to 12 weeks depending on the variety. Some bulbs may require a chilling period and the links above list those that may require this preparation.