Wednesday, January 16, 2008

It's Spring In My Kitchen (Forcing Bulbs)

Two years ago, my sister-in-law gave this shallow glass bowl filled with paperwhite bulbs to me as a Christmas gift. It was one of the best gifts I've ever received! :) Every gardener begins pining for something green and growing in the wintertime!

We have started our own bulbs in the same glass bowl and decorative pebbles each winter since, and have loved the little bit of early "spring". There is no soil - just rocks and water! The bulbs contain all they need to grow except for light, warmth, and water. We provide those :) Can you see the roots toward the bottom of the bowl? Isn't that fascinating? I tell the children that those are like little straws drawing water up into the thirsty plants.

This year, we had paperwhites that bloomed from just after Christmas until they faded a few days ago (the photo above is from when they were in bud). They were so lovely and cheerful, we decided to "plant" some other bulbs in their place. I have a little bag of Muscari (grape hyacinth) that I set aside last fall just for this purpose. I'm hoping to plant those with Punkin as a special one-on-one project tomorrow. Home improvement stores may still have their bulbs for sale, by the way. Hint, hint. It's worth giving them a call to find out :)

If you're interested in trying this with your children (it's really easy!), here's a great link with some more detailed instructions. It's nice to have a magnifying glass around, too, so the children can get a really good look :) What a fantastic indoor nature study lesson for those way-too-cold-outside days (or sick days). SweetP even drew the bulbs in her nature journal before we put them in the bowl, and she recorded their progress in a small journal as they grew. You can see how there could be several weeks of easy nature study in this simple project. And, as I mentioned before, they're so pretty :) Hope you get to try this!