Would you like to have spring flowers on your dining room table in January to help you avoid the winter blahs? You can, if you learn how to force spring flowering bulbs in your home. You can have colorful tulips or cheery daffodils while the snow is on the ground and the winter winds are blowing, but you must do it correctly to get the results you want.
Flowering bulbs all need a cold period of dormancy. If you planted them in the ground last month, you were counting on the appropriate amount of chill time being provided by the winter season in New Jersey. But what about the chill time for bulbs that we are trying to force into bloom in your home or apartment? If these bulbs are not properly chilled, they will either not flower or, if they do flower, results will be poor. The only bulb that doesn’t need chilling is the paper white narcissus. So what do we have to do?
- Get a container and fill it with potting soil that you have moistened. Then place your hyacinths, tulips, crocus, daffodils, or other bulbs into the container in a tight manner. Thoroughly water and store the container in a location with a temperature of about 40-50 degrees F. for approximately 12 weeks.
- If possible, see if you can purchase pre-chilled bulbs, which only need four to six weeks of chilling.
- After your containers have been well chilled, carry them into a nice warm and sunny room. Then, in about three weeks, you should have spring flowers in the wintertime.
- When these bulbs finish blooming, you might try replanting the daffodils for a second bloom in your garden. Most other bulbs should just be added to your compost pile, as they won’t have the strength left for a repeat performance.
At Garden Club R.F.D. in Middletown, bulbs are one area that is discussed at meetings that are held on the third Tuesday of each month (except July and August) at the Little Red Schoolhouse, across from Thompson Middle School on Middletown Lincroft Road. This past September, Hans Langeveld, co-owner of Longfield Gardens in Lakewood, was their speaker on “Bulbs,” further expanding their knowledge in this area.
At the November 15 meeting, the club will turn to another area, design. Synergistic Holiday Designs will be demonstrated by experienced designers. Then, following their examples, small groups will create their own synergistic designs. A synergistic design is a creative design consisting of three or more containers where balance, rhythm, and harmony are achieved across all the containers by the sharing of common characteristics of colors, textures, and forms. The containers are used together to create a complete and artistic whole.
Contact membership chair Nancy Canade at (973) 452-4846 to learn more about the program and about Garden Club R.F.D. Also, check out the Facebook page, Garden Club RFD. Club meetings cover various aspects of gardening, as well as flower design.