By Susan Stone
Walking through my garden this week I noticed my Narcissus coming up! Otherwise known as Paper Whites, these little bulbs grow beautifully indoors to bring a little spring to our short winter days.
November is a good time to ‘force’ bulbs for holiday gifts. Amaryllis and Paper White bulbs are readily available at this time of year (some already potted). But if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, Southern Living give some easy advice…place the bulbs in a well-drained decorative container. Start with a small pot. Of course, potting soil is best. Don’t plant too deeply. For Amaryllis, just place in a sunny spot and enjoy. For Paper Whites; after watering, place pot(s) in a cool room around 55 to 60 degrees for 7 to 10 days to stimulate roots. Then move to a warm spot (around 70 degrees) with bright light to encourage foliage and flowers. As leaves emerge, rotate your pot every few days to keep stalks straight (staking the stems helps). As buds swell and open, move the pot to a cooler spot out of direct light to extend the life of the flowers. Keep soil slightly moist. You can also grow your paper white bulbs in pebbles (not recommended for Amaryllis). Purchase ‘fine’ gravel from your local pet store. Gently add gravel to a shallow, clear dish or wide-mouthed canning jar. Place bulbs, and then add a little more gravel, if needed. Remember to keep at least one-third of each bulb above gravel level. Add water until it reaches the base of the bulbs. (Always keep water at that level.) From there, follow the same directions you’d use for planting in soil. You can expect plenty of foliage by Christmas and blooms by Jan/Feb.
Plant Asparagus Crowns this month. If you have room and patience, this is a great addition to any garden large or small. Asparagus produces eatable stalks in about 3-4 years, but definitely worth the wait! If you already have a patch, wait to cut back fern growth till after frost has turned them yellow and brown.