Wednesday, February 5, 2014



One February I received a kit for bulb forcing. It was such a gray February that I immediately filled the little container with water and put it in my kitchen window. The green container showed so much promise. It was a lovely crackled glass. It sparkled brightly in the afternoon sun. The bulb sat there like royalty on a throne. It was thirsty and I watered it everyday. First thing in the morning right after coffee, water the green throne and inspect the bulb for a green shoot.

It wasn’t long, on the grayest of days, a green tip appeared on the end of the bulb. The tiny promise of something alive was growing during February, not the easiest of months to survive, much less show real life in my kitchen. This apparition of green made me so happy. I could hold out until spring, maybe February is just a state of mind, and something over the counter will help me get past it. There is after all a green tip in my window. I could hardly wait. Hurrah! Hurrah!

The tip grew bigger. Finally leaves appeared. Then miracles of miracles a bloom appeared. It was white a pure color, really promising, things were looking up. The day the bloom opened, I had to wait days for the bloom to open, it revealed itself. It was a paperwhite. Every gardener will tell you about paperwhites. They will bloom in water and they will encourage a beginner bulb forcer to explore the world of bulb forcing. But what they don’t bother to mention, is the paperwhite in full bloom smells like something has died in your kitchen, and no amount of beauty will compensate for the smell they generate. It was just a botanical trick, something dead in February.

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