Sunday, January 11, 2009
Narcissus Step Book
Every year after Thanksgiving we place paperwhite narcissus bulbs in a bowl filled with gravel, add water, watch the sprouting of the green leaves, and enjoy their growth until we get the rich scent of the delicate white blossoms. It's a tradition carried on from my childhood which I have expanded to include a second round of bulbs started in late January to bring us through the cold winter days.
The process of getting bulbs to bloom is usually called forcing. One of the websites I looked at talked about coaxing rather than forcing which I liked a lot. Paperwhites are the easiest because they do not need to be chilled ahead of time. However, they can't be planted after. This will be their one and only time to bloom. I love what The Great Plant Escape said about bulbs: "A bulb is a promise."
The step book was made with four pieces of paper cut from the side panels of a grocery bag. The ties were made from the plastic bag bananas came in. I used colored pencils for the drawings as I found that the white pencil showed up the best on the brown paper.
BOOKS AND LINKS
Delightfully illustrated with cut paper, Paperwhite tells the story of two bunnies, Lucy and her neighbor Miss Mamie. On the first day of winter, they gather stones and put them in a glass jar, place a paperwhite bulb on top of the stones, and water them. While they wait for it to "bring a little spring into this dark winter day," they enjoy their friendship, baking and making music.
Information on coaxing bulbs as well as curriculum connections can be found here
For some very nice close-up photos of flower buds and blossoms, along with other flowers, visit http://www.charawilliams.com/eye/frontyardflora.html
Kids learn about bulbs as they solve Case 5: Mysterious Parts That Surprise in the Great Plant Escape.