We came home from 10 days away, and I admit, I was holding my breath a little to see if my plants had survived. We’d hired a neighbor boy to water them, but he’s not a gardener, and I didn’t want to overwhelm him with detailed instructions, so I mostly just told him the minimum that would hopefully keep them alive. Most of them survived!
The paperwhites hadn’t been big enough to stake before I left, and they’d gone exceedingly floppy on our return. I could have staked them then, but they would’ve likely looked a little wonky, with stems that had grown crooked. So I decided to cut them for vases instead — six paperwhite bulbs filled three tall & narrow vases with blooms.
(The dollar store is a great place to get an array of vases; I have three shelves’ worth of vases at this point, and I love them all. Having the right vase shape makes all the difference.)
Some of them hadn’t quite bloomed yet, but there’s a good chance they will, even after cutting; if they don’t break through the papery shell in the next day, I’ll cut the shells open to free the flowers.
Once I’d finished flower arranging (which always makes me feel delightfully like a fancy lady out of a 19th century novel), I pulled the bulbs, rinsed the stones, and started another set of paperwhites going.
This is my last batch of Ariel paperwhites for the year. I do like them a bit better than Ziva — Ariel has larger flowers than Ziva and thicker, stronger stems, and is therefore less likely to flop, although as you can see, Ariel does eventually flop too, if you don’t stake it in time! (Ziva is still lovely; I wouldn’t turn down more Ziva!)
I have another set waiting, a new variety to me, Inbal. Inbal (like Wintersun, which I tried last year but which never bloomed for me, alas), supposedly has a lighter scent than most paperwhites — some people don’t like the scent, but I don’t mind it. But thought it was worth trying and reporting back. I’m probably going to start those in the next few days — I need to dig up some more pebbles first.
(Not literally dig them up — I mean I have to go to the basement and figure out where I stored them!)