My teeth were having a very interesting conversation with themselves as I dithered with today’s vase, temperatures reaching about -5ºC overnight and still only just above freezing mid-morning. Picking these Narcissus ‘Paperwhite’s (not ‘Ice Follies’, which would have been more appropriate) was easy enough – planted in a pot in the greenhouse in mid October the buds have been opening gradually over the last fortnight but their appearance in a vase was postponed till today. Fortunately the overnight presence of the paraffin heater which has remained alight for almost 24 hours now (but only upped the temperature by a degree or two) did not leave the plants covered in soot which some reviews had described happening in their greenhouses.
I knew which vase I wanted to put them in but hadn’t factored in the thickness of the stems, which are more horseshoe shaped than round – and Plan B had to be rejected too. The pair of blue car boot bottles must have been Plan E or F and three stems and a slim twig were all that could be accommodated in each. I had picked up a branch with catkins on a Boxing Day walk with a view to using it today, but by now it was merely a branch and a pile of seeds so home grown alternative silver birch twigs were used instead.
As the garden was covered in frost using this as a background seemed a good idea, but the simple and elegant straight lines of the bottles and their contents were completely lost amongst the frosted leaves so it was back to good old brickwork. Even the proposed lapis lazuli props were rejected as not being quite the right shade of blue – hey ho!
This is the first time I have grown Paperwhites especially for cutting and have more pots planted up at fortnightly intervals – the next pot is several weeks behind, possibly because the bulbs were stored in the fridge until their due date (unlike the first batch which would have started out warm from delivery) although I suppose bringing the others into the warmth of house earlier would be an option. The end result from only 5 bulbs (and there are three more stems I wasn’t able to include) is quite pleasing and at £2.70 for 5 bulbs from Peter Nyssen it was definitely a worthwhile outlay and not too onerous to remember to plant each batch. Shame the vases I wanted to use didn’t get an outing though!
I wonder what others have been able to find or forage to put in a vase or container today? It is a completely different challenge at this time of year which makes it all the more enjoyable for many of us. You would be very welcome to join us too either every week or occasionally – it’s not about arranging (most of us are pickers and plonkers at heart) but the pleasure of picking from our gardens and bringing our pickings into the house to enjoy during the week. Just post your vase or container and include a link to this post and a link in a comment on this post back to yours – that way we can share your pleasure.
ps the amaryllis in Neon Light lasted nearly all week (but the buds had been open for a nearly a week before that) and with the stem being shortened and pushed into a pin holder it didn’t need additional support in the end. The previous week’s candle winding is still gracing our Christmas table but as the stems dried they splayed out and those round the glass slipped down, but nevertheless it still looked attractive – and smelt lovely! However, the jury is out on today’s smell….