January 2010

January 2010

Hey! I found something blooming - on my windowsill! With all the bright snow behind it's hard to get a good image, and this is the best I could do. If I knew more about photoshop etc. I'd probably be able to do something with it, but I don't so I didn't.

I was surprised to find that these flowers have no scent! I rather like the smell of paperwhites, but I guess enough people don't like it that someone thought they should invent bulbs like these.

Some of the bulbs haven't done much since I planted them several weeks ago. I keep lifting them to see if there are signs of little rootlets - the instructions say to wiggle the bulbs to check how firm they are, so I suppose lifting isn't really what I'm supposed to do. I'm reminded of a hamster I once had named Mopsa. When she died I buried her, intending to dig up her skeleton and rebuild it - wee bone by wee bone. I had little fingers then. Little fingers and big plans. I checked on her regularly, but she was never quite ready for reconstruction and bit by bit fell apart into unrecognizable pieces. There's a lesson in there somewhere - about leaving well enough alone. When I find it I might do well to learn it!

I had big plans for these paperwhites, too. Anyone who's grown them knows they often shoot up beyond their ablilty to support the weight of their blooms. I read (Cornell horticulture, no less - check out 'pickled paperwhites') that if - after they have rooted and are growing well - you feed them 7% alcohol, (fine vodka, wine or even rubbing alcohol will do) they'll stay short and stand upright. Any higher percentage and they weave about all over the place, I suppose. I have been waiting eagerly to give them their cocktail, but I've been foiled and have ended up with a mix of fully grown and rootless bulbs. This may, however, be an example of how our intentions are sometimes realised without action: those that have grown are not overly tall!

Now I get to segue into a subject that's hot for me now: worms. I have red wiggler worms in a box in my basement. You won't be surprised to hear that I check on them almost daily. Not good. They like their privacy, but I'm hoping they recognise each invasion as a friendly gesture.

The segue? I learned - and, as is true of a lot of things I get excited about learning, it's something pretty obvious! - that worms won't eat anything that's viable: seeds, bulbs, cuttings, etc. I thought I might take the un-rooted bulb (there's just one - the other shorties have little white footlets/rootlets visible) and see what the worms do with it. Comforting to know they'll treat it appropriately.

If any of you have advice about worm farms I'd love to hear what you have to say. I'm new to this, and need all the help I can get. I'm going to build their boxy bungalow into a high-rise and collect 'worm tea' from the ground floor to fertilise the garden. Perhaps future 'What's Blooming's will feature the beneficiaries. And perhaps, if the worm-boxed bulb survives, I'll give it some tea and let it grow to the ceiling!

All the best to everyone. Have a peaceful and productive 2010.

Edie Jane

** Late breaking news! just checked again and the last one has a little root - just since this morning!**

What's Blooming Archives - see what was blooming in the past!
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