Is your apartment lacking something auspicious?
The Lunar New Year Flower Market was happening yesterday and continues today, giving me a reason to stay out late last night. Regardless of the temperature, you can be sure to keep warm in their heated tent while enjoying the food, flowers and performances in Columbus Park. If I can shake my cold and get there last night, you can be there today getting getting orange blossoms for your apartment too. The tent will be open until 6:00 P.M. on Saturday.
Bulbs 101: As for those bulbs...
Practice makes perfect. Getting bulbs to blossom again is like attempting a recipe whose success relies solely on a specific balance of ingredients.
In this case if the bulbs did not get enough sunlight and nutrients after blossoming, I might just be looking at a pot full of languid leaves. Bulbs need to store up energy to blossom again.
Amaryllis and paper whites are resilient and easy to use as forcing bulbs, so I am hopeful. After coming back out, most bulbs require a period of being exposed to cool temperature. Ideally people replant their bulbs and put them out on a veranda or windowsill for the cool air of November and then bring them in to the heat of their apartment just in time for the holidays. That cool snap stimulates them to flower. This is my first year to get my bulbs to give an encore performance, so I am excited to give it a try.
This past weekend I brought out last year's amaryllis bulbs (which is very late) from storage and replanted them. I took a pot that already had soil in it. I tilled the soil to make it easier on the bulb roots – I just used my hand, but a trowel or even a kitchen utensil will do fine. The bulbs had already begun to grow in the closet. I started by pouring some of the loose soil into a small bucket to use and by cutting off the unhealthy root growth. After carefully nesting the bulbs in the soil, I covered them up with the reserve soil so that only the top third of the bulbs (the shoulders) protrudes. The whole pot then got a thorough soak in the sink and some liquid fertilizer.
I already know that I have a lack of a 'cool snap' and possibly not having fertilized the bulbs enough last year. They may or may not blossom. But my point is that I am working through the process and learning on my own terms, and the bulbs will continue to come back and be patient until I get the recipe right.
This year we also received an amaryllis bulb, which just stopped blossoming. We cut the flower stalk down to right above the head of the bulb and will now put it in a sunny spot, keep watering and fertilizing, and let the leaves grow out and wilt as we prepare to let it hibernate. Maybe next year, if all goes well, we'll have gotten the hang of this and have five blossoms in our bulb family.
- Matt N.