Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Force: to compel, constrain or oblige

At the end of last year, V** gave me a gift of narcissus bulbs & a tall, narrow pot with planting material.  For the first time in years, I am forcing.

When we lived in New Joisey, I covered our dining room window & patio doors with plants- anything to obscure the parking lot & the scenic overlook of Route 46.  In winter, I scoured the garden section of the hardware stores for bulbs of any kind to add any kind of color to the truly colorless, slushy view.

Forcing bulbs is no complex art, but it does require at least some cold.  I think this is why I got out of the habit when we moved to Texas.  I could hardly remember to put the bulbs in the refrigerator & on the rare occasion I remembered that step, I could not seem to remember to take them out again.  By the time I rediscovered them, they had sprouted, dried & died.  Also, there was the reality that no matter how polluted it is, being in the tropics gives Houston the illusion of healthy greenery.  The winter months were not the same gray.

Winter is not such a gray affair here either.  Still when we got home last month, I immediately opened up the kit & was pleased to see the bulbs were already pushing bleached white stems, even in the complete dark of the packaging.  I planted them fast,  covered them during the day for the first week or so to give the roots some catch up time & now every day is a new stage.  The rest of winter is likely to be mostly-mild enough that I can get another set chilled just sitting a week or so in the garage & will not have to be without flowers for the next few months.

I forgot how much I liked them.  When we walk in&out the back door, they have just enough scent to be pleasant.  The flowers are delicate & clean & best of all, they have a natural sparkle:

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