Paperwhites Wait for No One

Van Zyverden Narcissus 'Paperwhite Ziva'

Van Zyverden Narcissus ‘Paperwhite Ziva’

My Paperwhite Narcissus got started without me. Nature waits for no one.

I knew that of course, but life got busy and before you can say ‘plant me’, well, you know the rest.

It’s been several years since planting indoor bulbs. This year I had the best excuse: this gorgeous glass vase.

narrow glass vase

Narrow glass vase

Several friends from my Pilates class attended the Los Altos Art and Wine Show in August of 2013. There I fell in love with this glass vase. Once home, my passion didn’t fade, but I realized how tricky is was to keep flowers upright in such a long, narrow vase. I eventually settled on dried hydrangeas from the garden. The full bloom helped keep everything upright, but I really wanted to get more use from the vase.
glass vase with hydrangeas

My classmate, Nadia suggested that I plant it instead with bulbs. I could hardly wait for summer to pass again so I could give it a try.

narcissus bulbs top view

Paper Whites, viewed from above

A quick Google search lead me to this video. I watched it twice thinking I must have missed a step. Nope! It’s that easy.

Line your designated container with a few inches/centimeters of  marbles or pebbles.

Nestle your bulbs into the filler, roots facing down.

Add a few more pebbles to hold your bulbs in place.

Add water to the top of the gravel and enjoy.

glass vase narcissus collage

I started with eight bulbs: six in the glass vase, one in a Bell jar and one in my little chicken planter

I took these photos a week ago and the greens are already six inches (15 centimeters)long.

Stay tuned for pics as soon as they bloom.

Paper Whites growing in our bedroom

Paper Whites growing in our bedroom

Planting Bulbs: I’ve Learned a Thing or Two

spring bulbs

This Year’s Bulb Lineup

Planting bulbs isn’t complicated. Keeping them under wraps till show-time is a whole different story.

Apparently most bulbs prove irresistible to squirrels. Three seasons later, I’ve learned a thing or two.

In the past, fall catalogs arrived brimming with the most beautiful bulbs imaginable. I let my imagination run amok, mentally placing  an order for 500 flowering bulbs in every shape and color. After tucking them into the earth, effortlessly and without two days of neck pain to follow, I would put my feet up and smile. Rounding out the fantasy, the following spring would arrive with the garden awash in yellow, purple and pink fragrant bulbs.

Ha! I crack myself up.

So, back to reality, I’ve learned to temper my expectations. A little reading on the various bulbs and corms revealed this useful nugget: squirrels do not like the smell or taste of daffodil bulbs. I planted fifty daffodil bulbs last year and they all came up. Further, they kept the curb garden looking bright and cheery in February, often our coldest, grayest month.

daffodils curb garden
Here’s the plan:

I’ll add 30 more daffodils to the curb garden in case a few of the bulbs from last year don’t recover. This year’s variety is ‘Ice Follies‘, a blend of softer yellows. They’ll provide a nice contrast to the bright yellow variety. I’ll also be able to determine what comes up from last season.

The Narcissus ‘Paperwhite Ziva‘ are for indoors. Two summers ago I bought a beautiful glass vase at a craft fair, but find it difficult to use for traditional flower arranging. It’s long and narrow. A friend suggested bulbs. It never occurred to me. The wall in our bedroom is a rich blue, the perfect accent for the bulbs.

Finally, the pink and purple hyacinth, the ‘William and Kate Blend‘ will go in a large planter just outside my back door. I don’t know why they’re named after royalty, but it made me smile.

Once planted, I’ll lay a screen over the pot to prevent digging. I’ll be able to keep my eye on it, so that when the time is right, I can remove the screen and allow them to grow into fragrant goodness. They remind me of my mom.

That’s the plan from here, folks. Fingers crossed, salt tossed over my shoulder, spin around three times in a circle and a graceful bow to our dear Mother Earth ought to do it. You know I’ll keep you posted.