December 28, 2011

A mystical story about three Crocus bulbs

On the third day of Christmas, I received a priceless gift. (Note: You might not believe several aspects of this simple story. But I assure you, the entire narration is true.)

I ordinarily shop for next year’s Christmas cards after Christmas. (Oops, the secret is out!) This year, I first stopped at a very busy home and craft megastore, which had a few boxes left, but none to my liking.

I then traveled to a local department store, which I rarely visit. The aisles were nearly empty, and I had no trouble finding an excellent selection of beautiful, reasonably priced Christmas cards. As I walked toward the front of the store, I noticed an end-aisle display of bulb-forcing kits. The options were Amaryllises, Hyacinths, and Crocuses. The price for each kit: $2.99 USD.

I have never forced bulbs before. Several friends have given them to me as gifts, but I’ve never tried it myself. What possessed me to think this should be the time to try it? Well, probably the price. Why did I pick the Crocuses? The other bulbs, for some reason, seemed overwhelming to me for my first attempt.

Was blogging in the back of my mind? Of course it was! It always is. But I didn’t buy theses particular bulbs thinking I would blog about it on this particular day.

In fact, when I got back home I remembered that at some point this week I wanted to participate in Diana’s “12 Days of Christmas” meme. Hmmm, I thought. I could blog about these three bulbs! But I was lazy and chose instead to read my book on the couch with two cats for company. (Pure bliss.) I didn’t feel particularly productive.

This morning when I awoke, I thought about those bulbs (still not potted). And I thought about Diana’s meme. I checked out the days and realized many folks consider today the third day of Christmas! In any case, I “received” the bulbs yesterday and potted them today!

It’s somewhat mystical to me that I even set foot in that store, and beyond that, that I happened to walk by that particular end-aisle on my way out. And the three bulbs were pure coincidence (or were they?). Note: I have no connection, whatsoever, to the company that sells the bulb-forcing kits.

In any case, what a bargain! During the European Renaissance, flowering bulbs from the East were seen as a symbol of abundance and indulgence. They were highly prized and priced. And today I can buy them in a kit at a local discount store for $2.99! The pretty vases, alone, are worth more than that!

I followed the kit’s directions, which included filling the vases to just below the narrow necks, placing the bulbs shoot side up, and putting the whole lot in a cool, dark place for 12 weeks.

With the mild winter we’re having, it’s highly likely the outdoor Crocuses will bloom before the indoor ones, but we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, what a wonderful  gift!

(Check out Elephant’s Eye’s “12 Days of Christmas meme” for more posts about the gifts of Christmas.)


  1. i didn't know there were forcing vases small enough for crocus bulbs! how cute they are! perfect for a window garden...can't wait to see the blooms.

  2. I fell in love with crocuses when I first went to live in Switzerland. Reminded me of my Oxalis, tiny flowers scattered low among fine grass.

  3. How exciting! I've never forced bulbs, either (it sounds so hard, like you need muscle to "force" them to do something they don't want to do). But, that was a great buy - and a fun one, too. I wonder what color they will be!

  4. Pigeons macerate my crocuses and the indoor ones sort of peter out halfway so hope yours flourish. Lovely images and I enjoyed every word of this Christmas narrative - thanks for making me smile

  5. What a lovely gift to give yourself...I gave away similar gifts one year that had the same vases...I bought one for me and kept the vases...never did get those crocuses to bloom indoors but yours look like they have a great start...

  6. What fun. I picked up an amaryllis bulb for 5.99 and it was a big one. I will show you mine if you show me yours...blooms that is.

  7. What a nice story, Beth! Keep us informed step by step!
    Happy new year!

  8. Wow...I didn't know they sold crocus forcing kits! How fun. I've always wanted to try forcing a hyacinth, but it seems very overwhelming to me too. Good luck!

  9. I believe every word! Life is just like that. Things happen because they are meant to happen. I know your winters can be long and the crocuses will be a wonderful treat. BTW - you can buy dried culinary lavender online. Lavender sugar is incredible in light shortbread cookies with lemon zest. Delish!

  10. This was serendipity indeed! I've tried forcing bulbs a few times and haven't had a lot of luck, but I also didn't put them in a cool, DARK place first. Ah, that could be the reason my hyacinths didn't do much of anything last year. Your crocuses will be a welcome sight in March.

  11. A lovely tale to tell! I've had decent luck forcing tulips ... good luck, Beth, and keep us posted. Happy 'Gardening' New Year :)

  12. What a great impulse buy! I've forced a lot of bulbs but never crocus. I hope it works for you ~ were the bulbs pre-chilled?

    The forcing vases are beautiful. It will be a great January project ~ I hope we see blooms in the near future. Happy New Year to you too. I hope it's a good year in the garden and all around.

  13. Dear Beth,

    A nice gift for yourself. I thank you deserved some.

    I am Washington you a season fileleed with warmth
    and a new year filled with love.

    Lovely greetings,


  14. @Daricia: I know, it surprised me, too. I think I need to put them in a darker place, though. Hmmm...this will be interesting.

    @Diana: I love both Oxalis and Crocuses! I've never had luck with the former, but Crocuses (planted by the previous owner) come back every year. :)

    @Holley: Yeah, I'm thinking maybe I need to place them in a darker spot (maybe with a box on top). The label showed purple, white, and purple/white striped blooms. We'll see (if it works)!

  15. @Laura: Thanks, I need all the luck I can get. Fortunately, we don't have many pigeons around here and the other birds don't seem to bother them.

    @Donna: Aren't the vases pretty? That's funny that you have the same ones! I hope it works, but at this point I'm thinking it's a long shot.

    @Layanee: You are brave! I love Amaryllises, but I'm too chicken to try them. ;-) Yes, let's post about our blooms (if they work).

  16. @Dona: Happy New Year to you, too. I will keep you posted. Mostly it will be a longggg wait. ;-)

    @Hanni: Thanks--I need luck! I think I'm going to put a box over them to make it darker. I placed them in a very cool three-season room behind a basket. But I think it needs to be darker.

    @TS: I couldn't believe it myself, and it seemed kind of cheesy, but it's true! Thanks for the info on the lavender sugar--yum!

  17. @Rose: Yes, I think I need to make it darker for them. I will do that today. Yes, Crocuses in March/April are so encouraging!

    @Joey: Happy Gardening New Year to you, too! Thanks for the encouragement. With our long winters, having blooms to look forward to makes it a bit easier, doesn't it?

    @Kathleen: Thank you! Best wishes to you, too! I really hope this works, but I'd guess it's about a 50/50 chance. The bulbs were NOT prechilled.

    @Elly: Best wishes to you and your family, too! I imagine you are an expert with forcing flowering bulbs, no? Happy Holidays!

  18. The vases are lovely...well worth the price...and bulbs too...bargain. Look forward to seeing them flower.
    Happy New Year!

  19. @Bridget: Happy New Year! I put them away in the dark in a cool place. Wish me luck! :)