My mum is an amazing gardener and she always had me and my sister help out by growing bulbs indoors in the winter. It’s so cheering to see something growing, even blooming in the winter that I’ve continued the tradition. While there are a few species to choose from, my favorites have always been paperwhites and amaryllis.
So far I’ve started only paperwhites and will probably pot up a few more as the winter goes on. Spacing out the planting means I’ll have blooms for much longer, and their wonderful scent as well. Though watch out, if jasmine smells of nothing but cat pee to you, you might have the same problem with paperwhites. I sometimes have that problem and find moving them to a cooler part of the house can really help. For a simple article on growing paperwhites click here.
Amaryllis in a birch pot from Housemartin
I haven’t started any amaryllis yet but plan to start some this weekend. Amaryllis may not be scented but their large, colourful blooms more than make up for that. They’re fleshy and dramatic with bold strokes of colour, almost like lilies. They’re often available in the grocery store packaged with everything you need (ok, not the water) to get them growing. I remember giving a lot of these kits to teachers as Christmas gifts as a kid. Now I like to look in nurseries and online for some exciting varieties not available at the local Safeway. This year I’m obsessing about green ones and mixing them with the more common white. Amaryllis can even be grown in water like hyacinths and produce a pretty stunning root display. I’ve had a few spectacular tip incidents growing them this way, though, so I prefer to stick with the boring old potting soil method.