Forcing bulbs is a way to ring in an early spring or make the holidays festive. Adding grass seed to the pots has been my way to dress up the display during bloom. Timing is easy for Paperwhite Narcissus for Thanksgiving and Christmas. They shoot up quickly, even in cool weather. But spring bulbs take a lot longer and sometimes the grass got too tall, especially in warmer weather.
This spring I used two types of sedum cuttings in addition to grass seed. The grass pots needed more water, and the roots competed with the bulbs.The succulents are drought tolerant and they will be something that you want to live on, like the bulbs, when planted outside.
More about forcing bulbs
Arrangements complete for two parties this week! The succulent flower combinations worked well and will last for weeks. When the flowers eventually fade, the succulents will continue to grow in the floral foam…or can be potted up or planted in the ground.
These pumpkins topped with succulents were the most popular item at my holiday sale.
The ladies have shed their livingwear to be watered naturally by the steady warm rain storm coming through today…. aka a ‘Pineapple Express’.
Their ensembles are laid out in the courtyard with the other tillandsias (aka air plants).
Every fall I order bulbs to force for the holidays and spring. This season’s selection was Ziva Paperwhites (a classic for Thanksgiving and Xmas), and Narcissus. Silver Chimes are my absolute favorite, and then I usually pick another variety to try out. Paperwhites can be potted up in October, but the narcissus bulbs go into the garage refrigerator (where there aren’t any fruits or vegies to give off gas that can affect bloom) for about 6 weeks. Then they are potted up and placed outside in a cold, shady spot until the leaves are about 4 inches tall.
Then I sprinkle a big pinch of grass seed on the top and cover with bird cages (to keep the birds from eating the seed). Be sure to keep moist until the grass germinates.
The results are fresh looking, fragrant flowers that look so natural inside or out. When the flowers fade, the bulbs can be planted outside, where they will re-bloom year after year.
The hummingbirds love the huge aloe flower spikes.
This succulent frame looks so pretty with the pink and green sedum poking out.
Echium pininana alba, also known as Echium ‘Snow Tower’ is a rare white form of the Tree Echium. This perennial/biennial is a huge source of nectar for bees and butterflies. It has grown over 10 feet tall and has been blooming for months. It will drop seeds in the fall, and the new plants will emerge and grow to bloom the following year.
Our berry bushes (mix of blackberries, raspberries and olallieberries) have produced like never before this year. The new vines that will bear fruit next year have had to be cut back so I can get in there to pick them… a bowl like this every 2 or 3 days! I can’t make pies fast enough, and there’s already bags in the freezer for those fruitless winter months.
This stink lily (Dracunculus vulgaris) came up this year bigger than ever. Beautiful and unusual, but once it warms up… it reeks of rotting meat (yuck), and is covered in buzzing flies.