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

Sunday, January 20, 2013

In the Winter, Far Beneath the Bitter Snow...

"...lies a seed, that in the springtime, becomes a rose."  Bette Midler, "the  Rose"

Hi everyone...Okay, no snow---and no roses here, lol. But you get the gist, right? It's winter and not much is growing in our gardens outside. Every year on this holiday weekend I start my spring flower bulbs for indoor blooming.

This past autumn I was unable to buy much in the way of bulbs to force. The usual stores, like Lowe's and Home Depot had shingles and lumber not flowering bulbs. I picked up the paperwhite narcissus at the Christmas tree place, a garden store that had somehow survived the flood. And I bought the red tulips at the supermarket in Manhattan, I think.


I didn't have time to pre-plant and chill off the tulips.

I planted some in my deck flower containers [with the pansies!] and I kept these, already sprouting, to try indoors. [I used a favorite Stafordshire bowl, a c. 1810 "slop bowl". Used for tea somehow, not for, um, slop. see edit note at end]

This year the narcissus are in the found tin from the thrift shop. I like it more for flowers than as a retro jello mold.

Narcissus are foolproof and meant to grow indoors. Fast. These could bloom in ten days!

Since I don't have pots and pots of bulbs started, I decided to make my terrariums instead. I LOVE this one:

It was from Marshall's, I have been saving it for two or three years.  I've been looking for an affordable small greenhouse box for years.

I love the descriptions of what were called Wardian Cases, in Victorian times. more here   and here where the writer calls them Cabinets of Curiousity. Don't you just love the oldfashioned words and ideas, the 19th century wonder at natural things. We're so jaded sometimes....

So I had my Wardian box. And I just knew the tiny plants I found at Trader Joe's would look so cute. Cylamen, miniature monkey orchid, African violet, variagted thyme.

But I was surprised and amazed by the bag of ''dead'' brown moss from Joann's. It had languished in my found junk basket since last spring, bought on sale for I think 2.00 a bag. And it sure looked hopeless. BUT overnight, once set gently into the soil and sprinkled with warm water...look how beautiful and green it is! Many different kinds. A tiny woodland scene, springtime in January.

Then this smaller terrarium from the thrift shop.
I over-planted it the first time. last summer. Now I moved those flowers to the bigger box and just did a moss garden. Again, I think it is so sweet.

I'll add some fairy mushrooms or miniatures later, once the soil has settled.

I was pleased...but then:

 My kids came home and my son peered into the boxes: "Well but what's it for, mom?" 
"It's not for anything," I replied. "It's just for fun...to have something green growing in the midst of winter."
"Huh." He then went into the kitchen, opened the fridge and peered inside! I hope he didn't find anything green that was actually growing, in there!?

Kids. What can ya do? I just picture someday he'll try to explain a terrarium to his kid, who looks dubious too. Yeah, that'll happen.



           .... gone to the beach

more on slop bowls:
and here though Wikipedia implies all slop bowls were silver, wch is, I believe incorrect, see above description, for example. 
ps I still can't get the blogger pix download to work right. i couldn't elarge the terrarium shoys, too bad. But I think if you click on the pix they'll go to full screen & a larger image. enjoy.