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?
Once the garden season turns to winter, I get lazy, and don’t go to much trouble forcing bulbs. Sometimes I’ll grab the prepackaged deals at the store, but that’s about it. Indoor gardening no longer floats my boat much. I’d much rather dream about next year’s outdoor garden!
I sure need my indoor garden to function throughout winter although I’ve noticed that as I age, winter isn’t as long as it once was. Hopefully, 2020 will change over to a kinder 2021. Keep on dreaming. ~~Dee
I love planting bulbs and you just keep giving me more and more ideas. It is such a gift in the spring when they emerge. In my house in Indiana I have a small greenhouse so I have been trying to give last years amaryllis..new life. I will let you know. Thanks so much for this newsletter..I love it
Hey Becky, so glad to be an enabler. It’s what I do best. ~~Dee
I have Thanksgiving Cactus blooming and the first Amaryllis bloomed a week or two ago. Paperwhites went in weeks ago and the foliage looked good until last week, when I forgot to water them and they dried out too much. Fingers crossed they rally.
Hi Caroline, I bet your paperwhites will recover unless the foliage turned brown. Two of my Thanksgiving cactuses or cacti started blooming this week. I’m excited for them. They make me happy.~~Dee
I really enjoyed reading your blog, and also loved your beautiful photography. I’d better get busy, and your inspiration helped. Amaryllis are my favorite bulbs. I have way too many to plant, and of course, I went alittle crazy buying more this year! Do you plant yours in regular potting soil?
Thank you, Susie! Yes, I just use regular potting soil to plant mine. ~~Dee
Lee@A Guide to Northeastern Gardening
That’s a lot of bulbs you planted. Your blooms are going to be amazing next spring! I love growing Amaryllis indoors in winter. I bought one of the wax dipped bulbs this year for the first time, and with no soil and no watering, it is doing beautifully! It should bloom within the next week or so.
Hi Lee, it was super easy to plant the bulbs because the soil was very loose. Wax-dipped amaryllis work really well, and they won’t stain your table tops. All good things. Happy Advent!~~Dee
Karin Hicks/Southern Meadows
I adore your glass vases. I just got my camassia and trout lily bulbs in the ground before our freezing temperatures. We are still cleaning up from our storm here too. We lost 4 trees. It is a ton of work to get it all cleaned up! The garden always keeps us busy!
Wow Karin, four trees are a big loss. I lost some of my Japanese maples. They were small trees, and I haven’t dug them up yet. We lost a few native oaks, but not too many. Hugs from Oklahoma.~~Dee
Lisa at Greenbow
What with family issues this year it is not a year of indoor blooms for me. I will be enjoying indoor blooms vicariously Keep up the good work. 😉
Lisa, I’m sorry about the family issues. I hope everything is ok. Thanks. I’ll try to post some actual flowers from this year soon.~~Dee
Oh, fun stuff! You’ve been busy, inside and out. I can’t wait to see the outdoor results next spring–please do share when it happens. 🙂 The indoor potted plants are lovely!
Hey Beth, I took it a little at a time so it wasn’t too bad. I still need to plant a few things. Maybe I’ll go out to the greenhouse and do that now. ~~Dee
Well, Dee, you’ve certainly been far more ambitious than I. I didn’t even manage to order any bulbs this year. Your mixed bulb bed is gonna be so pretty! I did pick up 16 pink impression tulip bulbs locally. I’ve planted two clumps that will be visible from my BR window so I can see them first thing every morn. I’ve found that scattering pelleted chicken manure on top of the bed after planting bulbs keeps the squirrels from promptly digging them up. Give it a try! My only inside bulbs will be two potted amaryllis. This is their third year, which tickles me pink. I’ve had good luck summering them outside. Sorry, didn’t mean to write so much, LOL!!
Ginny, I love your long comments! I also really like Pink Impression tulips. I’ve grown them many different times. Smart to place them where you’ll see them easily. I think my dog, Francis, with the fabulous nose, would tear up the gardens if I put chicken manure on there, but otherwise, I think that’s a great idea. Anytime, you can get amaryllis to rebloom, it’s a good year. ~~Dee