Name: Narcissus papyraceus aka paperwhite narcissus
Type of Plant: A perennial bulb to the Mediterranean but an annual in most of North America, this bulb is most frequently forced to produce fragrant flowers inside during the winter.
Why I Love This: Who doesn’t want more flowers in the dead of winter? Many of us also want fragrant flowers indoors, but more importantly we enjoy the process of watching these plants grow. We can enjoy seeing the shoots emerge from the top of the bulb while the roots stretch out from the bottom. First the dark green leaves emerge, then the fat flower spikes develop and finally the fresh white flowers open. And all of this happens in the dead of winter when we most need reminders of growth and renewal.
You can plant paperwhites in a pot of soil, a dish filled with pebbles or in the bottom of a wide but tall, clear vase. Just keep the water covering the roots but not the top of the bulb (so it doesn’t rot) and you can’t go wrong.
A Word to the Wise: No, you can’t save these after they finish flowering. If they aren’t hardy where you live the bulb will be using up all its reserves of energy to grow foliage and produce flowers. So be willing to say “Thanks for being here, it’s been great. Goodbye!” and throw the bulbs into the compost. With appreciation.
Paperwhites are great in a bowl filled with those beach rocks you have picked up over the years and never know what to do with. Those smooth stones always look better when they’re wet, right? So using them with paperwhites is the perfect combo…
Search on this blog for “vine support for paperwhites” and you’ll find instructions for creating the natural flower support you see here.
But you can also crowd several narcissus bulbs into a tall clear vase. You still get to enjoy watching the bulbs sprout and grow, and you’ll have the fragrant flowers, but the tall stems and foliage will be supported in the vase.
In my part of New England this is the “I have to admit I’m not going to get these planted…” time of year. I have a couple of shrubs that I’m not sure where I’m going to place them, and some small plants that will be donated to a non-profit next season. And then there are
Name: Tropaeolum majus aka garden nasturtium
Type of Plant: This is an annual for those in the colder regions, and a plant that is so easy to grow from seed. Nasturtiums thrive in full sun and other than occasional aphid they are remarkably pest free.
Why I Love This: I love nasturtiums because their round leaves
Name: Salvia elegans ‘Golden Delicious’ aka golden pineapple sage
Type of Plant: This is an annual for those in the colder regions, but a perennial in Zones 8 to 10. But what a long season of interest it has in the garden! Grow this salvia in full sun where you want easy, spectacular foliage color all
You Can Grow That
In so many ways the fall landscape can be just as exhilarating as the spring season. With the right plants you’ll have a continuing kaleidoscope of color and texture in autumn that is as striking as the growth and promise of April or May.
Looking for fall foliage color? have I got a plant for you!
As I work in the gardens this fall the beauty of the autumnal colors is breathtaking. I stop frequently to try and soak up the golden light from the lower-in-the-sky sun and the yellow foliage. I pause to appreciate the ‘Golden Delicious’ pineapple sage that is just coming into flower, and the Frosty Knight Lobularia that