Your daffodils and tulips will bloom in the Spring, but Spring seems a long way off in the cold months of Winter. To satisfy your desire to bring bulbs to bloom, plant some Paperwhites. With a simple planting medium and a little water, in 4-6 weeks you'll have clusters of miniature Narcissi greeting you with their sunny faces.

Growing Paperwhites

Other bulbs can be "forced" into bloom indoors, but require a period of cold storage before planting. Paperwhites don't need this since they originate from warm landscapes around the Mediterranean. Store your paperwhite bulbs in a cool, dark place until you are ready to plant them.

What you'll need:
8-10 bulbs
planter with drainage holes- any shape - 4-5 inches deep and 10-12 inches wide
washed river rocks
sterile potting medium

8-10 bulbs
clear glass planter - 4-5 inches deep, large enough to accomodate desired number of bulbs
washed pebbles and/or stones

1. Line bottom of planter with pebbles/rocks - 1 inch if using soil, 2 inches if not. Add 1-2 inches of soil (if using it).

2. Position bulbs, pointy ends up, closely together. Push down slightly to anchor. Tops of bulbs should be just below rim of planter.

3. Top bulbs with more soil or pebbles, leaving top 1/4 to 1/3 of bulb exposed. Even if using soil, add a top layer of rocks to secure bulbs.

4. Water well intitially, then as needed, being careful that bulbs never "sit" in water (they will rot).

5. Place planter in a cool, sunny location. Expect blooms in 4-6 weeks.

Unfortunately, paperwhite bulbs, when grown indoors, rarely bloom again.

The Story of Narcissus

The tale of Narcissus originated in Greek mythology. Narcissus was a very handsome young man, adored by all the young ladies. A nymph named Echo, who was afflicted with the curse that she could only repeat what others said to her, was struck by one of Cupid's arrows and fell desperately in love with Narcissus. She followed him everywhere, but he thought her to be silly and even rude since she always repeated his words.

Once Narcissus, followed by Echo, was walking through the woods and bent down by a pool of water for a drink. He was shocked to see the image of a very handsome young man looking up at him from the pool. He reached out to touch the young man, actually his own reflection, and fell into the water. Unable to swim, he drowned, much to Echo's horror. In that location grew the delicate, beautiful white flowers we call "Narcissus" to commemorate his life and death.

(Another version has Narcissus stare at his own reflection, not taking any food or drink, so that he dies from vanity.)

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