I wiped away the weeds & foam. / I fetched my sea-born treasures home... Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Convincing Spring

Convincing Spring
etsy seller:birdie1 http://www.birdie1.etsy.com/

"It was a happy thought to bring
to this dark season's frost and rime
this painted memory of spring
this dream of summertime..."

                                 John Greenleaf Whittier

Spring comes late to the beach. Think late June, just before summer barrels in for the Fourth of July---something about the ocean temperatures and gale-force winds. But by late February there are a few hopeful signs of winter's demise---the sky is still light at 6 PM and the dying sunset's shades of palest aqua and soft sweet peach could never be mistaken for the fiery skies of autumn. Instead they are perhaps the first hint of spring at the beach. 

...that and the tiny green snowdrop heads I discovered when last week's snow melted . A dear childhood memory--- watching with my mother each frozen Midwestern winter for those first green spikes to appear. She always was so thrilled and noted the event with pleasure in her diary. No daffodil shoots here though, not yet.

So during the long months of winter it is quite the challenge to convince Spring to arrive early, or perhaps just on time, in late March.
I plan ahead. In October when I shop for apples and mums, I pick up spring bulbs for winter forcing. Because it is not cold here til Christmas and because I don't like the potted bulbs in my fridge, I instead keep the bulbs in the cargo space of my Jeep to winterize them and give them the dose of cold that they need. Then in January, when the last of the tinsel and pine is swept away, when the last treasured ornament is returned to its nest---usually by Martin Luther King's birthday weekend---I retrieve the bulbs from the car, search out my bins of fake seaglass and spend an enjoyable afternoon choosing this year's containers.

Some years I use all aqua green Mason jars, other years crocks or yellowware bowls. White ironstone sugar bowls, tureens, and compotes are good too. This year I used paperwhite narcissus and blue hyacinths this year and transferware containers. I put a layer of glass or beach pebbles and seashells., then I set the bulbs gently in their places, add water, and wait.

And wait.

This year I waited so long I had to augment with tiny irises!

And an extra for my desk. I love the tiny old glass inkwell....

And I am hoping the tiny tete-a-tete daffodils will be in the grocery store soon. I love them, they are just so happy! So adorable and miniature. So, if you 'd love to convince Spring to bloom in on your sunny windowsill but you didn't plan ahead...no worries. Just check out the flower aisle at the market [Trader Joe's is a great flower resource!] and for less than 6.00 each, you too can convince spring to come early.
etsy seller:birdie1 www.birdie1.etsy.com

Here is a good link for more traditional method of forcing spring bulbs:
Don't forget to snip off some forsythia and pussywillow. They'll boom in just a week or two. 
Here are a couple of links from Martha with how-to's for branches. The first link has a cool video! http://www.marthastewart.com/article/how-to-force-branches