Paperwhites and Dried Peonies

I started my annual paperwhite forcing today – I’m starting with six bulbs, and every week, I’ll start a new group of six so we’ll have blooms from just before Thanksgiving to…well, whenever I stop, which will be some time in January. I *love* the smell the paperwhites give whatever room they’re in.

Not too long ago, I got one of the blown glass reed diffusers from Pottery Barn that smells like paperwhites and it works wonderfully. I have it in the living room, and it’s *so nice* to go in there any time of day and smell paperwhites, even when I’m not forcing the bulbs. When my ‘real’ paperwhites get going, I’ll move the diffuser to a darker room where I don’t grow them. I’ve seen reed diffusers used in spas, and when I saw it at Pottery Barn, well, I just had to get one! Besides paperwhite, they also have mandarin and honeysuckle (mmmmmh!) and I think even more scents in their shops.

Last year, I got a very late start, but I’m using the very same setup (post here):

Mason jars and carafes are used as containers, then I fill the jars with some of pretty stones or marbles. I have some special bulb-forcing vases, but mason jars work just as well, and I love the look of the jars, too. I get the bulbs from our local Smith & Hawken.

In the carafes, the bulb is held right in the neck of the glass – and when it grows, you can see the roots below it in the water. The mason jars have marbles or rocks to act as a base for the bulb, then the roots meander all through them once they start growing. I set my bulbs in the bottles, then added water to the very bottom of the bulb. They’ll start waking up tonight or tomorrow, and I’ll take pics every week or so to show their growth.

The important thing is to keep the water level at the bottom of the bulb, and to put in a sunny window. I’ve done some before, though, in shady windows, and they grow and are beautiful, they’re just taller than ones that are in a more sunny location. I can’t wait for them to start growing and blooming!


I bought some dried peonies on eBay and they’re beautiful!

I wanted to make some little dried peony arrangements to go in the new armoire, to add color, so I just took some jelly jars (these diamond quilt-pattern jars are my favorite), cut the flowers to length, arranged:

…and they’re so pretty now!

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