End-of-winter houseplants

I appreciate indoor plants the most during these last lagging winter months of February and March. Some people say they hate houseplants but I think they are a surefire cure for S.A.D.

I put these hyacinth bulbs in the refrigerator back in October and now they are have finally blossomed. What a fragrance. This variety, Blue Festival, above, is bred to have a more graceful open stalk of flowers similar to the old-fashioned Roman hyacinths which don't seem to be in the trade anymore.

I love scented geraniums but don't have great luck with them as houseplants. I plan to take these to the upstate porch this summer where I hope they will thrive. From left to right, they are 'Chocolate Mint', 'Lemon Crispum', and 'Skeleton Rose'. I absentmindedly rub the leaves to release the calming scent of their leaves while I'm talking on the phone—especially to demanding editors.

My dad got the red Navajo vase in 1935 when he was seven years old on a trip with his parents to Arizona. The small sphere is by Pamela Sunday. The carved "Wind" vase is by Klein Reid and the small blue art glass bowl is Italian (I think). The other white vases used as cache-pots are old McCoy Floraline.

The pale blue grape hyacinth Muscari azureum

The tiny rock garden iris, Iris reticulata 'Harmony'

13 comments:

Carol said...

Those are beautiful flowers and containers. I forced my hyacinths using vases. They have all bloomed and withered, and now I'm waiting for Iris reticulata to bloom in my garden.

Stephen Orr said...

Thanks Carol! I have some of those iris in my garden too and look forward to seeing them bloom. I never know which ones will come back.

Meg said...

Beautiful flowers! I'm inspired

Charlotte K said...

I tried the refrigerator method this year for a large variety of minor bulbs, and while they now are up with beautiful fresh green leaves, there are no flowers, and no signs of flower buds. Meanwhile snowdrops are blooming in the yard about 2-3 weeks earlier than in typical in the Boston area where I live (esp. since they are in deep shade).

Any tips on the refrigerator bulbs for next year?

Stephen Orr said...

Hi Charlotte,
I've had bad luck in the past when I've tried forcing unplanted bulbs. They dried out or rotted like a bad onion would. This year I went ahead and planted the bulbs in small pots and put them at the back of the bottom shelf for about 8 weeks. (I know they take up a lot of room but I worked around it). This method seemed to work much better with no rotted bulbs. I watered them only once during that period.
Also I wonder if this variety, the multi-flowering 'Blue Festival', might have been easier to force...

Barry Parker said...

Hi Stephen,

You've done a great job matching plant to container. I try to do this too. I've ended up with a vast collection of pots waiting for the right plant to come along.

A Rockridge Life said...

I just found your blog. The images are really wonderful--especially the blues in the two different hyacinths. Everything looks gorgeous. So excited to have made the discovery. Thank you.

Stephen Orr said...

Thank Barry. The nice part is they look good without plants as well!

Stephen Orr said...

Thank you Rockridge Life. I look forward to checking out your blog.

jess said...

Wow, beautiful Muscari! I could only find the purple ones that you see everywhere. Any favorite sources for bulbs?

Also, I didn't know you could force iris indoors like that, which makes me excited since I live in an apartment and don't really want to put money into my landlord's yard.

Stephen Orr said...

Thanks Jess!
I like McClure and Zimmerman as well as Van Engelen for bulbs. Brent and Becky's Bulbs is also good.
Those iris reticulatas can be forced to bloom early indoors and then put out in the garden where they might come back next year if you're lucky!

caroline said...

hi stephen! i am so happy to find you and your beautiful blog (via dominique's new blog, slowlovelife)....and, when i figure out how to do this, i will subscribe, or sign up, or whatever it is i am supposed to do...
xx and hope to see you soon...
ps. the title of your blog is fabulous, too)

Stephen Orr said...

Thank Caroline! Is this Caroline C.?