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Journal

Bowl of Paperwhite Narcissi

 

bowl or narcissi

I love to use old battered bowls and pots for my bulbs. This is an old mixing bowl that has seen better days - it is chipped and crazed but holds water. In between bulb displays it lives in the shed.

Salad bowls, old pots, jelly moulds all work well, their domesticity seem to suit the emerging bulbs.

Paperwhite narcissi don’t need a chilling period - so they are not hidden away - but can be appreciated in all stages of growth, so it is nice to plant them into a pretty container.

(You can also make a very similar display in February with pots of sprouting narcissi bought from garden centres or florists.)

You need:

  • A large bowl that is relatively deep
  • Grit or fine gravel
  • Compost
  • Paperwhite narcissi bulbs - 15-20
  • Leaves or moss
  • Later on you will need some twiggy sticks - silver birch, dogwood, hazel all work well.

Step 1

Put a handful of grit in the base of your container to act as a reservoir and add an inch or so of compost. You can use bulb compost if you like (it has added charcoal to keep it sweet) but I never do.

Step 2

Add in your paperwhite narcissi bulbs. When I was buying to take photos for this demo I could only get ones with great shoots on them. This doesn’t matter but the ones you have will probably still be dormant.

planting paper white bulbs

Step 3

Cover the bulbs with a some compost so you can no longer see the roots and then put another layer of bulbs in. It should look this crowded and the flower spkies will happily grow around obstacles. (If you are doing this in the spring simply tease out the compost in the pots and cram in as many narcissi bulbs in a single layer as you can)

Cover the soil with fallen leaves or moss, these are hornbeam leaves scooped from under my hedges - make the layer really thick as the leaves will shrink as they dry out.

hornbeam leaves

This moss is from the edges of the lawn (we grow moss really well here and it covers everything quickly but do not take any from the wild).

moss

Step 4

Once the flower spikes are 20 cm they will be firm enough to take twigs - carefully pushing them between the bulbs to support the flowers.

Keep lightly watered and for best results display it somewhere cool and light (or ret urn it to the cool at night).

I would love to know how you get on with your bulb growing. Please tag me @snapdragon.life on Instagram or use the hashtag #snapdragonlife.

How to grow paper white narcissi

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Flowers picked, stripped and plonked in a jug. ⁠⁠
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I was planning to do a fancy arrangement but then they looked so light and pretty as they are.⁠⁠
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Simple so often the best.
The tansy is about to flower in the Studio Meadow.⁠⁠
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When I arranged flowers for weddings I always thought that the best thing about having properly seasonal flowers was that you would remember every year as plants came into bloom. ⁠⁠
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I got very involved with weddings, couples became good friends and I still associate plants in my garden with specific people. ⁠⁠
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Tansy would not be a good plant for a wedding though really - its history is a dark one, tied up with abortion and despair - but it is the plant I associate with my first attempt to dye fabric with plants.  Every year it blooms I realise how far I have come.⁠⁠
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For that first attempt was was a failure - too big a piece of fabric, not enough scouring and then a hissy fit at the lack of colour, which ended up with chucking too much ferrous sulphate into the pan and ruining it further into a blotchy grey.⁠⁠
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This weekend I go to Gartur Stitch Farm @katgoldin to learn more about dyeing with local plants and indigo with Julia @woollenflower . ⁠⁠
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Then, after that, I shall harvest this year's tansy . . . .⁠⁠ 
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A sunny evening in the studio.⁠⁠
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The fabrics I have been dyeing over the weekend rinsed and drying on the clothes horse.⁠⁠
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Maybe it is the heat, maybe its the perfect ripeness of the plants - I don't know - but this batch of foraged colour is particularly mouthwatering. Lush and soft and perfectly balanced.⁠⁠
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This is the last lengths that I am dyeing for the summer sampler sets of plant dyed fabrics, ribbons and threads that will go into the Studio Members shop at the end of the week.  I will email out the link when they are live.⁠⁠
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Making things like this is small scale and slow - so much love and care goes into these sampler sets, from the picking of the plants to the hand drawing of the gift cards.  I wouldn't have it any other way.⁠⁠

If you aren’t already a member of the Studio Club and would like to join -  to see behind the scenes, get the monthly journal and access all the members only blogs, courses and shop - the link is in my bio.
'You have to be fast to get the sweet peas'.⁠⁠
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This is what I was told last Sunday at Drymen Community  Garden Open Day. ⁠⁠
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They were talking about the dozen or so bunches I've been taking down to the Crop Swap outside the Village shop on Drymen Main Street each Saturday morning for the past couple of months.⁠⁠
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They are first things to be snapped up from the table.  I was delighted to find that many were being taken to neighbours, dropped off with the newspaper on the way home.⁠⁠
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If feels right for this most generous of flowers.
Did you have a spirograph as a child?⁠⁠
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The dahlias have started blooming and I'm thinking I could use one to draw them.
This is my Studio - where everything happens. ⁠⁠
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At the moment it is surrounded by a bright and jazzy mix of loosestrife and buttercups and poppies - teasels, tansy and sanguisorba rising up, ready to carry on the next act of the show.⁠⁠
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This little patch of land - really just a bank of spoil from building the studio - is different every day, an ever changing inspiration.⁠⁠ A reminder that things ebb and flow, bright and muted, high and low. 
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The heart of the Studio Club.
This was a new thing for me. ⁠⁠
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Mass rather than lines.⁠⁠
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An applique cushion made from pieces of my natural dyed fabrics, a still life of shapes - some hand quilted, some machine embroidered.⁠⁠
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Strawberry moon and vases.⁠⁠
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I'm currently spending time sitting in the shade most days, working on more pieces a little like this, aiming to put together a little collection for the Studio Club shop in the next couple of weeks.⁠⁠
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There will also be some more sampler boxes of plant dyed fabrics as the last ones sold out so fast!⁠⁠
A close up of the Studio shelf. ⁠⁠
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The white allium is from a garlic bulb in the poly tunnel - stressed and desperate to seed - snipped from the spread of drying bulbs that scent the hot air.
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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