The snow here in the Boston area is insanely deep, the icicles are nearly 15 feet long, and connect the roof gutters to the ground, and although I am tempted a bit to snowboard off of our roof into a snow drift, now that we are back from New York, I am focused on the bulbs I have been forcing for a mid-winter flower show, being held this weekend at the Tower Hill Botanic Garden (you MUST come visit it, as nothing will lift your spirits more!). I've talked them into regenerating the classic winter bulb show, very much like the way most spring flowershows began in Boston, Philadelphia and New York in the mid 1800's - it's in their DNA to to sponsor such an event, and I have so much hope that this event will inspire others to grow and enter plants during the winter months.
Even though I knew that I wanted to force many plants for this first of what I hope will be an annual show, I just didn't realize, back in October when I started potting up bulbs, that this last week of February would require me to be traveling (New York Toy Fair and Westminster Dog Show). This is a critical time when one is forcing different types of bulbs, as timing can become tricky - snowdrops rush ahead as tulips need care, when coaxing them into bloom, small iris can burst into flower within a couple of warm, sunny days while the rarer muscari slug along hoping for a sunny week of 70º weather in the greenhouse. Needless to say, it's been a challenge to time everything to bloom on a single Friday.
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I'm please to say, that I think that I've done pretty well - aside from a few disasters (such as me slipping down the deck stairs onto my back in deep snow last week - just like Charlie Brown and Lucy - with a full flat of muscari, which flew up into the air and all landed upside down in the snow) (Oh, and then there was this little thing called 102 inches of snow in three weeks here in Worcester, MA), (and then of course, some rascally terriers who decided to dig up all of my flats of forced lily of the valley just moments ago - my fault - I left them on the dining room floor), in the end, I think if I can get everything to the hall tomorrow morning (in 0º temperatures, of course), then I will count my blessings. Almost there.
|My Muscari pots were kept under the cold benches in the greenhouse for 16 weeks, and then brought into the bright light to force. I brought them into the house for a time, to speed them up under lights, and then back outdoors.|
|These plastic pots will disapear, as I will repot each of these pairs of pots into one, clay bulb pan. Aesthetics are important with me, as they are with many of you. I will reuse these pots for tomatoes and seed starting soon.|
|A detail shot of what will be making it to the show bench tomorrow. Later this weekend, I wills share with you how they look installed, as well as what my tulip display looks like.|
|I knock out the rooted Muscari, and repot them into old clay pots. Topped off with coir, the appearance suddenly improves. Now, all they need are labels.|
|The tulips are looking fine, and coming into full bloom under lights in a spare bedroom. They appreciate the additional warmth indoors, as the greenhouse is just too cold. I selected a color palette of purple, lavender and pink.|
|I think that these tulips could last an entire week indoors.|
|The greenhouse this morning, frosty and nearly encased with snow - it is -2º F outside at 8:00 am.|
|The muscari are potted up now, and waiting in the studio to be moved to Joes truck as soon as it warms up. I am concerned about moving them in this cold weather, as even 30 seconds in sub-zero weather can freeze them.|
|What won't be going to the Botanic Garden this weekend is this tray of Lily of the Valley, it's just not ready yet.|
|The amaryllis are still blooming, most on their second bud stalks, with the third buds just emerging.|
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