MySecretGarden

U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Paperwhites and a Crystal Ball


All pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them
My Paperwhites bloomed just in time for Christmas this year. I first showed them here: Holiday Decorating.
Paperwhites (Narcissus tazetta), members of the daffodil family, don't require a chilling period for blooming. That is why they are easy to grow for the Holidays.
I planted them in three groups. The first bunch of bulbs went into a big ceramic vase.
*

*
There is a shallow plate inside it with rocks and water. On the top, I put moss from my garden. I agree with many of you who noticed in the comments to the post shown above that the moss was a nice finishing touch. To keep it green, I sprayed it with water daily.
The second group of bulbs went into a big glass jar.
*

*
They also grew on rocks in the water. The water just touched the bottom of the bulbs.
As recommended by our garden guru Ciscoe Morris, I added vodka into the water to prevent paperwhites' leaves from growing too tall and falling apart. Despite that, the leaves were pretty tall and took almost a horizontal position. I should admit that I didn't follow the directions 100% - to add a tablespoon of vodka when the leaves are 5 inches (12 sm) tall. I chickened out and added less. My fault.
*

*
As Ciscoe Morris explains, "the alcohol burns the roots just enough to slow stem growth. Don't worry: The stiff drink won't make your paper whites tipsy. The stems will remain upright and the flowers will be just as large and long-lasting as ever". Next time, I'll do exactly what he says! Also, I'll try to remember to use tall glass containers for growing paperwhites to keep the leaves straight.
*

*
Please notice some swirls in the above picture. I don't remember seeing such swirled leaves in previous years. Drunk paperwhites?
*

*
Nevertheless, the plants pleased us with their small but very delicate and aromatic flowers. Very fragrant!
*

*
The third group of bulbs went into three small blue and white ceramic pots with a special planting mix. One bulb per pot.
*

The mix came from a store with the bulbs. These paperwhites could be seen in a vertical position as in the picture above, or almost horizontally, as in the next picture.
*

*
I noticed that the leaves of my paperwhites tend to do the Limbo (lie down) after I added water. They stayed straight when the planting mix was drier.
I plan to plant the bulbs outside in the spring (paperwhite bulbs can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 8 - 10), although it is risky. These perennials are very tender, and even a slight freeze can be fatal for them.
***
Do you see a crystal ball in the next picture?

*
When I saw it, it brought back special memories.
I ordered this chandelier long before our house was finished. We rented an appartment while the house was under construction. The big chandelier box was delivered to the house and put into the garage by the construction workers. I opened the box and checked its contents. All the chandelier parts were present. Since our garage didn't yet have doors, we loaded the box into our car. We left it there because the appartment was packed full with other boxes. (Well, this could be the answer to a question that was asked by many of our visitors from abroad. Why do Americans like big cars? To carry boxes with chandeliers!)
Once, while we were driving, our twin boys were engaged in throwing different stuff at each other. Socks, toys and other objects were flying back and forth in the back seat. One of the boys turned around, grabbed a piece of crumpled paper from a box and hit his brother with it. We heard a scream! A fight started. My husband was driving, and I was dealing with the boys. Despite all my efforts, the screaming didn't stop. I understood the upset boy's frustration, but it was just a paperball that couldn't hurt badly, could it? Actually, it looked like it did hurt! Tired of all the commotion, my husband stopped the car, opened the back door, grabbed the paper ball and threw it into a trash can near some store.
One or two months passed. Our house was finished, we moved in and assembled the chandelier. One part of it, the crystal ball, was missing. I was absolutely sure that everything was in place when I checked the box upon its arrival, but what to do - we ordered another part instead of the lost one. I don't remember how much time passed before it suddenly hit me! ... Have you already guessed what happened with the ball? What was in that piece of crumpled paper? Correct! It was the crystal ball! That is why it hurt when the paper hit the boy's head! This episode is in our family's history, and we laugh when we recall it.
I hope that someone found that beautiful crystal ball. I hope that someone keeps it as a symbol of good luck. There is a moral in this story for all of us: there might be gold in a pile of sand. There might be a treasure in the trash! Wonders happen, especially if it's close to the Holidays!
I wish you all a wonder-full New Year rich with enjoyable events, pleasant discoveries and exciting treasures!
*

***
Copyright 2010 TatyanaS

34 comments:

  1. What a story. I knew what was coming. No wonder he cried so. I think every family needs stories like that to tell. Too bad a crystal ball had to be sacrificed! Love the drunken paperwhites! Carla

    ReplyDelete
  2. Plants that drink vodka? Now you're talking!!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Would never have thought of Vodka.
    have a happy New year.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the curled leaves of your Paperwhites, drunk indeed. Pretty funny.
    I am so sorry about your missing crystal ball. Oh dear.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Tatyana, great story about the crystal ball! The birch branches really do help hold the paperwhite branches upright. I also tried the alcohol one year and I didn't see much of a difference.

    My paperwhites this year were the best, don't know why because I have grown Ziva several times before. I can't wait to see what you will get when you plant them outside, too cold here.

    Eileen

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Tatyana,

    Lovely photos of lovely flowers! I had planned on getting paperwhites myself this year but with all the snow, it just never happened...
    I did however manage to pick up some tete-a-tetes last week and look forward to them flowering in a week or two.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The crystal ball story is definitely funny. I've never grown paperwhites, but maybe I will after reading your post!! I hope it's note too late!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I never started my paperwhites this year. Maybe I'll do it yet and have blooms for Valentine's Day! Love the story about the chandelier! My father-in-law was known to toss parts of Christmas toys in the fire with the wrapping paper.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The crystal ball story is indeed a good memory now. Your paper whites look so lovely. I love the flowers and I wish I loved the fragrance because they were one bulb that did grow well for me indoors. I have heard of Vodka curling ones toes on the way down but not flowers. LOL!|
    Have a Blessed New Year.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for reminding me that I bought some paperwhites. I wonder where they are?

    ReplyDelete
  11. I pity the boy who got hit, and it could have left a mark! Now it is already fun for everyone but that time it hurt so much, sure. I dont know that flower coz we dont have them here, will they grow so tall and lanky if they receive more light? I know plants grow taller when etiolated. Maybe instead of putting some vodka, why not try additional light source. Happy New Year Tatyana, may you be further blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great story Tatyana. You tell the best ones. It's good you could replace the ball too. It looks like a beautiful chandelier.
    I've never heard of putting vodka in the paperwhites water. I'll have to try that since mine flop too if they aren't in the tall vases. Your displays turned out really nice, curly leaves or not. I think the curls add charm. :-)
    Your Christmas tree is/was so pretty. Hope you are having a good holiday and Happy New Year!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello Tatyana!

    Thank you for popping on over to visit my blog and leave me your sweet comment - much appreciated!

    Beautiful paperwhites (can almost smell their heady perfume!), stunning photographs and absolutely delightful story about the missing crystal ball! Poor little boy! No wonder he'd put up such a fuss!!!

    Your chandelier looks absolutely GORGEOUS - I love crystal, but have very little in my own home... I'm now wondering why?

    Super to meet you! Have a GREAT 2011!

    ReplyDelete
  14. happy new year..have a wonderful time!
    mike

    ReplyDelete
  15. Happy New Year Tatyana! I love the thought of your curled leaves being drunk! I've enjoyed following your blog this year and look forward to 2011!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Ouch! it must hurt to get hit in the head with a crystal ball.

    I hope you had the best Christmas!
    And that you have a very happy new year.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I grew some paperwhites and they were very leggy and I assumed it was due to the heat of the house so the other two bowls I put in the cooler greenhouse to slow them down. But I will now try the vodka trick as some of them have just got to 5". It will be interesting to see what happens

    ReplyDelete
  18. I liked your vodka trick for the drunk paperwhites. The chandelier story was cute, but you where right, I did see it coming. Aren't memories grand? So much tied up in a little crystal ball.Great story.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Love the paperwhites, and share your exasperated amusement with the legginess of some of them. Mine have done nicely this year, but are finished now, while many amaryllis are just coming on strong. Here's wishing you a very happy 2011, Tatyana...and no more throwing crystal balls around! (great story)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Wonderful pictures and story and creativity!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I really like paper whites and yours are just beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love it! What a great story to pass on in the family about the crystal ball! Poor kid, but it is hilarious.

    I love your Paperwhites as well. It was fun to see them blossom from different angles. I've told you often that you have a gorgeous home. I love to see your decor'. So homey. Happy new year. - Miss Daisy

    ReplyDelete
  23. Tried commenting before but EI went wacko.
    Anyway, love the paper whites...not sure if I have enough sun without drafts to have any.
    Miss my flowers :(

    ReplyDelete
  24. Growing paperwhites indoors sounds like a great alternative to the usual poinsettias and amaryllis at Christmas time. Thanks for the idea. And now that I know the vodka secret maybe I'll even be successful at it. I wish you a very Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Ha ha! I'm glad you were able to get a replacement piece for your chandelier. The paper whites are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I bet someone was very surprised when they spotted that in the trash! I bet that paper was a heavy hit. Gotta love boys!! Hope you have a wonderful new year!!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Fragrant? That's a very nice way to say they stink! LOL They are so pretty, but I won't grow paperwhites again, they are way too smelly for me. But you enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Dear Tatyana, I was so struck (no pun intended) by your story of the crystal ball . . . thank goodness no one was hurt. I love your paperwhites and find they fall over frequently too. They are worth the trouble though. I sometimes put them in tall glass containers too. Wishing you the Happiest Of New Years! It has been wonderful spending time with you over this past year!

    ReplyDelete
  29. mine will bloom New years Day - no vodka too late lovely

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great story! I'm glad that you find the humor in it instead of lamenting the loss of the crystal ball. Beautiful paperwhites, too!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Great family history, Tatyana. Poor boy. Beautiful paperwhites. The vodka tonic is a new one on me. I think I'll try it next year. Happy New Year, dear friend.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Who would have guessed it wasn't paper OUCH! Now ya made me want to go dumpster diving!!! LOL
    Strange about your beautiful Paper Whites looking like they went on a big toot.
    A Happy New Year to you and your family Tatyana. Hope it brings nothing but good things.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Suddenly I'm having thoughts of rummaging through trash cans! But I won't. It's just so true, though...there really could be something very valuable where we least expect it! All we need to do is keep our eyes open. Funny story about the crystal ball but a memorable one, for sure! Glad you were able to replace it, glad that your son wasn't hurt badly...and glad you shared the story with us;) I have never considered paperwhites to be fragrant in a 'good' way...but oh yes, they are fragrant indeed. I wish there was a way to make them smell good. Do you think if we added a touch of something 'nice-smelling' to the vodka that they might end up smelling better?! Anyway, Happy New Year to you and yours! Have you heard about the garden-blogger get-together in Seattle next summer? I'm hoping I can go and wouldn't it be fun to meet everyone from afar?!

    ReplyDelete
  34. What an amazing story- you have quite the flair with the camera as well!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and for your comment! I appreciate your time! See you soon on your blog!

Blog Archive

Search This Blog

Loading...

Follow by Email

Share it

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

I'M GLAD TO SEE YOU!

Copyright 2009-2014 TatyanaS, MySecretGarden Blog



My New Plants Fundraising!

-->