Coaxing Flowers from Gnarly Bulbs

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

People fight winter depression in many ways - sunlamps, cruises, Marx Brothers movie marathons and more. My way is to grow plants indoors, especially flowering bulbs. Year ago, I was working and going to school often came home beyond exhausted, yet couldn't sleep. The gray days took hold of my heart that year, and the long nights were not my friends. I trudged home one day to find a package had been delivered; soon I found that it held my salvation. My mother didn't know just how sad I was feeling, but she had seen many busy semesters in her life and thought to send me a 'happy' from Harry and David. Now ubiquitous in outlet malls nationwide and still a source of delights, only the original out West existed then and it was all mail order for us in the Hinterlands. Mother sent a kit, a Delft crocus bowl and the bulbs to fill it. For as much joy as those bulbs brought me, it should've been harder to grow them.

Coaxing those babies and their kin into bloom could not be easier. Here's what to do:

1. Buy plenty of topsize, firm bulbs to fill a pot that is wider than it is deep. 

2. Recycled pots are fine, but be sure to clean each with 1:10 bleach: water solution. Rinse well. 

3. For paperwhites, use gravel or marble chips; for all others, potting mix.

4. Put o

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