Planting bulbs indoors and outside. That’s what’s happening at our Little Cedar Garden the past few weeks. That and continued storm cleanup. We removed most of the large limbs that were hanging in the trees and got the largest limbs out of the back garden and front beds. There is still a lot of debris like small twigs and leaves. Bill and I worked on that all weekend. It’s part of why I haven’t written.
What I planted and why
I planted ‘Amazing Parrot,’ ‘Blushing Impression’ and ‘Green Wave’ tulips, Narcissus tazetta ‘Silver Chimes’ daffodils, Hyacinthoides hispanica ‘Excelsior,‘ Eranthis hyemalis, winter aconite, Iris reticulata ‘Clairette’ and ‘Harmony,’ and Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’ in the new, expanded garden bed in the Jacqueline van der Kloet interplanting method. I placed smaller bulbs somewhat closer to the front of the beds so they will hopefully stand out more.
It’s easier to do this in a new garden space than an existing one because the spaces are larger and more open. You simply toss the bulbs onto the soil pretending that’s how nature would plant them. Then, you dig the holes and plant. Make sure your bulbs are right side up. With tulips, you hope voles and moles won’t come to visit. You can plant tulips inside elaborate chicken wire cages, but this takes away from my planting pleasure. Instead, I try to plant daffodils around my tulips. Nothing likes to eat daffodils. For other deer and vole resistant bulbs, check out the Gardenangelists’ podcast episode, Flower bulbs, frosty vegetables, and oh deer!
Inside bulb forcing and planting
Inside, I’m forcing bulbs and just planting others. What does forcing bulbs really mean? You fool plants like hyacinths, crocus, and tulips so they think they’ve had their required cold period and are now blooming in spring.
I’ve written several posts about forcing bulbs over the years. Some years, I force bulbs in vintage bowls and other containers.
Forcing bulbs is a bit tricky but doable. Most years, I force a lot of hyacinths, but since I had problems with my hyacinth bulbs last year, I decided to just pot some up in outdoor containers and place them in the cold frames outside.
I just received another bulb order from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs of I. reticulata ‘Pauline‘ and ‘Carolina’ that I’m also going to plant in containers and place in the cold frames. I hope they get cold enough to bloom in early spring next year.
I’m also considering using the inexpensive bulb vases from past Trader Joe’s purchases to force a few hyacinths in the refrigerator. I broke some of my antique hyacinth vases a year before last when the refrigerator in the garage got too cold. Trader Joe’s glass vases are very strong.
Last year, I had trouble with a rat that ate several of my hyacinths. Nothing is supposed to eat hyacinths, but I saw the little booger munching them in the cold broom closet. He or she waited until they began to grow and ate them inside out. Like I wrote, above, forcing bulbs can be tricky.
Growing amaryllis and paperwhites is easier.
This December, I’m once again creating a winter garden indoors with amaryllis and paperwhites.
When you grow amaryllis and paperwhites, you’re not actually forcing them because they don’t need a cold period to bloom. Growing amaryllis and paperwhites is easy like a Sunday morning.
This year, I’m growing four varieties of paperwhites, N. tazetta, ‘Galilee,’ ‘Inbal,’ ‘Wintersun‘ and ‘Ariel.’ Although paperwhite bulbs may be getting hard to find, you still have time to grow some. TLC Nursery in Oklahoma City had ‘Galilee’ last week. Note, I don’t like the strongly-scented paperwhite, ‘Ziva’. In fact, I dislike it so much I wouldn’t even let my friends buy it. However, not all paperwhites stink.
Last year, I gave gifts of paperwhites in milk glass bowls to my friends. Milk glass is inexpensive and blends nicely with paperwhite flowers. Plus, paperwhites need much room to grow so these bowls really work.
As for amaryllis, I bought several red and white varieties again. I’m decorating with red and white this year for Christmas, and I especially love the amaryllis ‘Picotee.’ I almost can’t resist amaryllis, but I’m trying not to buy too many. Note, amaryllis have almost no scent at all.
Before your amaryllis flowers grow quite heavy and large, think about how you’re going to support them. I’ve done various things over the years. I bought some copper supports which are attractive and work pretty well. I’ve also used twine and bamboo stakes and in some years, ribbons. It’s really your personal preference.
I also top off some of the bulbs with bits of glass, gravel or moss. I like reindeer moss a lot. It’s very pretty. I’m keeping things simple this year because I’m kind of tired. I bought a frosted Christmas tree which I’ll decorate with red cardinals and bows. Normally, I do Shiny Brites and tinsel, but with a new grandchild on the move, I thought unbreakable was our watchword this year. I also got a frosted wreath and swag for my mantel. I think it will all be very pretty for the Christmas holidays.
Now, tell me about your winter garden plans. Will you force bulbs in pots or hyacinth glasses? Will you grow amaryllis or paperwhites?