As a child, I remember thinking my friend’s family was very classy. One of the reasons I believed this was that they filled their home with flowering bulbs all winter long. I recall the fragrant paperwhites on their kitchen windowsill and the large, showy blooms of amaryllis throughout the house. I was always eager to see how much they had grown since the last time I visited. I can still remember one particular variety with incredible, double white flowers. Some people remember food from their childhood (which I do too) but I mostly recall flowers and plants.
As an adult, with a home of my own, I am on a mission to indulge in bulbs all over my house during the long, Midwest winter. The process of watching a bulb grow, ever so slowly, and eventually breaking open into a spectacular show of flowers is one of my favorite pleasures during the long grey days of an Iowa winter. It is a breath of life in a time where everything outdoors lays dormant and frozen. My kids enjoy the special treat of watching the plant’s life cycle and relish the surprise the moment the flowers finally pop open. It is an equally tedious and exciting pursuit to watch an amaryllis bulb from the time it puts its first green shoot up, to the moment it begins to bloom. Life races by us at breakneck speed these days, but for me there is comfort in knowing there are still some things you can’t rush. A pregnancy, for example. An amaryllis bulb. Water boiling on the stove for tea. Slowing down to appreciate these simple pleasures is important to me, even if it is for a brief moment in the day. It fills me up. It nourishes me.
So today I spent the morning planting bulbs. I planted some for myself and some for my customers. I want to share the pleasure of these flowers with people. Not just the little ones you find in junky kits that are all over the box stores right now. No, I want special ones. (Go figure.) I spent last week researching the different types of amaryllis bulbs and some new varieties of paperwhites. I ordered some basic ones and some pretty spectacular ones (some of them coming from Holland with an almost 40 cm diameter!).
For now, though, I bought some plain ones from around town because I am impatient and took them out of their ugly plastic pots. I transplanted them into interesting brass containers, terra cotta pots with a little covering of moss, glass hurricane vases with pebbles, and anything that caught my eye.
Now I find myself wandering by them each hour checking to see if they have grown. Yes, I know that’s crazy, but I can’t help myself. It’s all part of the fun I suppose. I will have to post pictures of the new bulbs when they come in, and then, of course, when they all begin blooming. For now, I simply encourage you to indulge a little and bring bulbs into your winter homes. If you are in town near me, stop into our December 5th Holiday Market/Flower Sale and pick some up. I should have a nice variety by then. If you aren’t close, order yourself some bulbs today. Most of the sites where they can be purchased include detailed growing instructions. And so I sign off with the wish for each one of you to slow down and find a way to enjoy life’s little pleasures amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.
The promise of these beauties is always worth the small effort to plant the bulbs!