Archive for January, 2011

experiment results

progress Day 16

 So here’ s the Ziva on day 16.  These 6 bulbs were already sprouted when I bought them.  They developed roots very quickly and within a week I exchanged the water for a 5% alcohol solution.

Zivz day 20


Four days later—wow blossoms!

Height measurement

 It seems like this might be about the tallest it will get.    The expected height for Ziva is 18-20 inches!

Ziva day 25---Yummy!


Inbal and Ziva day 25


Both were started on the same day. However,  Ziva had already sprouted in the box while Inbal for the most part lagged behind. In addition 2 of the Inbal bulbs did not sprout any roots.

I’ll post a picture of the final height of the Inbal as it progresses.

I am just so excited about this method of forcing the paperwhites.  It  is such a joy to have these harbingers of spring here my home spreading their greenness, scent, and vibrancy to the stasis of January. And hey, they are not falling all over themselves.

Garden bloggers bloom day January 15, 2011

Like Carol at May Dreams Gardens our garden is once again buried in snow. O f course we do expect there to be snow here in January-just not so much for so long.  At last count there has been about 70 inches this season compared to an average closer to 40 inches by mid January. So I’m inside buried in the avalanche of garden catalogs. This is an unexpected result of last year’s meagre orders from perhaps 3 different companies resulting about in twenty different catalogs so far.

Sadly I was woefully late buying any seasonal plants to cheer up the house during mid winter. The Amaryllis the kids got me for Christmas is so far just budding and I finally remembered to get a few paperwhites for forcing  just five days ago.

This year I’m going to pickle the paperwhites in vodka to keep them from growing such tall stems that always flop under the weight of the prolific blossoms. (This ain’t nothin’ mama done told me!)

According to a study by Cornell University plant biologists(?) substituting a 40% solution of grain alcohol for plain tap water will result in shorter stems without affecting the blooms at all. So I’m trying it.  The only way I’ll know it’s working is if I SEE that the stems are shorter and if I compare the expected height to what happens here.

I have 2 different varieties of paperwhites: Ziva and Inbal. I started them on January 10. The Ziva had already sprouted when I bought them and they are the ones that have also already sent out roots. Today I replaced the water with a one to seven part ratio of 40% grain alcohol (vodka) to water.  We shall see!

the ingredients

Day six

January frost already? No fair!

Temps here in Rochester, NY have been in or near the 50’s for the past  3 days.  The snow blanket is no more. Hopefully the mulch I placed last fall will protect  against heaving.

Jan thaw?

Jan thaw 2