Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

Forcing Spring

More snowfall may be in the forecast, but spring is blooming its head off on my windowsills. That’s because last fall I picked up a handful of hyacinth bulbs for my growing collection of forcing vases. I simply tossed the bag of bulbs into the crisper drawer of my refrigerator where the would receive their requisite chill for forcing indoors (at least five weeks). Right around Ground Hog’s Day—just when I felt I couldn’t face another day of cleaning up muddy dog prints and watching icicles the size of stalactites weighing down my gutters—I pulled those bulbs out of the fridge and gently set each one atop a special narrow-necked vase filled with water so the bulbs just rest on the surface of the water.
A few weeks later I’m rewarded with blossoms in shades of creamy ivory, dusty pink, warm rose, pale lilac, and—of course—snow white. The clusters of waxy petals fill the entire first floor of my house with an intoxicating fragrance that makes me want to throw my windows wide open and scream “Spring is here!” But, alas, the frost is still thick on the inside of my leaky windows and there’s still no sign of life from either my hellebores or my witch hazel, my midwestern monitors of spring’s approach. So in the meantime I’ll satisfy myself behind closed doors with my yellow-blooming clivia, my still-blooming pots of amaryllis, and my windowsill waiting with hopeful hyacinths.

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