The Clemson Extension has great notes on forcing bulbs, and I see there that the paper white narcissus don't even need to be cooled. I've seen cute displays of these flowers in shallow bowls of gravel, so that's a fun project to try this year. Directions from the Clemson archives:
"Start by filling an undrained decorative bowl or dish that is at least 2 to 3 inches deep with enough pebbles, pea gravel, coarse sand or pearl chips to reach about 1 inch below the top. Add water until it is barely below the surface of the gravel. Set the bulbs on top and hold in place with enough gravel to cover the bottom quarter of each bulb. Carefully maintain that water level.
Tender Narcissus are best kept in a cool 50 to 60 F location in low light until they are well-rooted and the shoots appear, usually in about two to three weeks."I also plan to pick up a few hyacinths. For hyacinths I plant them in dirt and leave them about 12 weeks in my fridge before pulling them out.
And now for a random thought. I don't like the word "forcing". How about "gentle encouragement of earlier flower time by creating artificial conditions." Well that doesn't acknowledge the fact that early blooming is usually against the plant's best interests, and so many of these bulbs don't come back the next year. I feel like a plant imperialist. Sigh.
I went to Lowes to pick up another flat of pansies and get some glass cut to make a cover for a terrarium. (Tip: A 10" x 20" piece of glass, with the edges sanded, fits perfectly on a 10 gallon aquarium. ) I love terrariums since I can get focused on the outdoors, babies, work, etc. and forget about them for a while, and the plants don't look neglected.
When I returned home, my husband asked a really annoying question. (No, he didn't ask how much I spent. He is good about not questioning my plant habit.)
He asked: "Why didn't you go to Home Depot?"
In honor of election day, we had a short debate about which hardware store is better.
My hubby is very loyal to Home Depot, based on several logical reasons:
1) We own a tiny amount of Home Depot stock, and shopping there for a lifetime might raise the price per share one billionth of a point.
2) They are based in his hometown.
3) Tony Stewart, driving the #20 Home Depot car, may have a temper but at least he's not a cheater, like Jimmy Johnson in the #48 car.
4) He likes the color orange.
5) They seem to focus on selling over-powered tools that few men really need, but many men buy anyway.
Now my rebuttal:
1) Lowes will cut glass for frames and terrariums projects, while Home Depot won't.
2) Lowes was the first major chain hardware store in my small hometown. (This perhaps hurt the local small hardware store, which was full of crusty old guys on sitting around on stools, chatting it up, and making me feel like I didn't belong there.)
3) Jimmy Johnson is cute in his Lowes NASCAR outfit.
4) I like the color blue.
5) They seem to have a larger selection of bird houses.
Ok, I've reported, now you decide.
(Don't even get me started on FOX news vs. CNN)
Meanwhile, does anyone have any advice on macro lenses? Or garden photography in general? I'm not very familiar with photography techniques and equipment. My method of getting good pictures of Nelumbo Jr. is to take about 200 pictures a day, and usually I'll end up with one worth keeping!