There’s been an awful lot of weather whining in my neck of the woods, where mega snowstorms have been stealing the headlines since just before Christmas. I can appreciate where the naysayers are coming from, but a rough winter just makes the appearance of milder temps and patches of green all the more exciting. There’s still a few more weeks to go until it’s safe to “think Spring,” but that doesn’t mean we can’t get a jump on things, indoors at least.
My project this coming week is to take all the daffodil bulbs that never made it into the ground (two days after I got a great deal on 80 bulbs, we had our first snowstorm of the season) and fill as many glass vases and pots as possible with either water or soil and stuff them with bulbs. Since I only paid $40 bucks for the lot, I figure that I’m making out better than buying bouquets of flowers (though that won’t stop me from stocking up on bunches of tulips and hyacinth as they start cropping up in even bigger and brighter combinations at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s).
I’ll continue to bemoan the fact that they never made it into my garden, but by planting 5-7 in larger pots that I can place on my patio, I’ll still have the pleasure of looking outside and seeing creamy white and yellow cups and petals—a true sign that Spring is on its way. I might even get lucky enough to sneak a few bulbs into my window boxes, if I can unearth them from my snowy sills. For those who may share my predicament, as long as those bulbs have been laying around somewhere cold (like your unheated garage), you, too, can get the garden party started indoors. Just don’t wait too much longer.
Not everyone has chilled bulbs on hand, so here are a few other indoor gardening ideas to help you think Spring… One of my favorite Plan Bs starts with finding a narrow, long vessel and planting grass seed, which will sprout quickly and in a short time grow into a row of soft, green grass and look lovely running down your breakfast table or on your kitchen windowsill. Click here for a concise primer on the best seeds to use. You can mix in hyacinth, daffodils and tulips (and even pansies starting when they hit the nursery shelves) already started for a kick of color and fragrance.
If you really want to capture the coming season, starting an indoor herb garden is the perfect way. Choose fragrant varieties that will also acclimate to being outdoors once the weather is no longer a threat. A combination of rosemary, variegated sage, basil, flat leaf parsley, thyme, oregano and cilantro will provide texture and color contrast, and make cooking a lot more fun (and flavorful). Plus you can bring the entire arrangement outside as a patio decoration or take apart and transplant individually when the weather warms up. I also like to take sprigs of fresh herbs, either cut from my containers or purchased at the market, and pop them into miniature vases, shot glasses or small creamers to line my window sills and sashes, or fireplace mantle.
Of course, the simplest way to put a little Spring in your step—without getting any dirt under your nails—is to set aside a few extra dollars each week for a regular fresh flower splurge, and keep that bird feeder full. Between the views inside and the chirps and flitters happening outside, you should be able to make it through the rest of winter without any more gripes. Well, until the dogs and kids start trailing mud all over the house.