The only natural joy left in mid-winter (aside from citrus fruit) are forced bulbs. Now is the time when muscari start to show up in every grocery store and corner bodgeda for less than a latte. Sometimes called grape hyacinth, they are better know as simply the only fool-proof cure for seasonal affective disorder. Winter. It ends! When you see one pot, buy two. When you see two, buy three. They each cost $5, a pittance for such pleasure.
Students, today’s lecture will talk about turning the the little blue wonders of the plant world into seasonal displays for your home, either through repotting or combined with other flowers. Pencils sharp? Hands folded? Okay, let’s get dirty. –Amy Merrick
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My corner store in New York had rows of forced muscari, hyacinth and daffodil bulbs all potted and blooming. When searching out specimens, don’t automatically reach for the pot with the most flowers in bloom, it’s already at it’s peak and the show will be over before you know it. Finding the plant with the most number of quite small buds and the healthiest foliage is the best bet for longevity.
For a simple but stunning centerpiece, carefully break up each plant and loosen the soil from the roots. Breaking some roots is inevitable, but try to be gentle.
I repotted clusters of bulbs in all white vessels like this old mini soup tureen and a larger pot from Frances Palmer. The bulbs will need to be quite closely packed to keep them upright and extra soil should be used on the top to hold them in place. The leaves may get a bit wayward and if you don’t like how wild it can look, clip off a few.
When clustered en mass, your $20 worth of bulbs turns into a million bucks. (Truth be told, I mixed a few paperwhite bulbs in the larger pots for proportions sake.) A really perfect idea for a spring wedding or party on the cheap, just be sure to credit design*sponge and Amy Merrick in every single wedding photo. These tips aren’t free, you know.
If you have nerves of steal, you can cut your precious muscari and mix them in flower arrangements. Or you can take the cowards way out and buy bundles of them from your local florist. (My way is the cowards way, pretty much always.) The little blue babies hold up like champs in a vase, eeking out at least a week if you are diligent about water changing (I’m not). Their nodding shape and bluebell color make them pretty much the ideal finishing touch to any palatte. Tiny bits of blue are revolutionary in unexpected places and take a ho-hum arrangement into the stratosphere of ecstatic perfection. Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.