Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Scent of Paperwhites

Every gardening season has its surprises. 

I've wanted, for years, to try to grow paperwhites.  These are bulb flowers that are not hardy in our area, and would die if we tried to overwinter them.  But instead, many northerners choose to grow them around Christmastime, indoors.  They bloom once, and then you have to get rid of them.

I was looking forward to smelling their strong, sweet, fragrance.

So this year, I decided to grow them.  I bought three bulbs at a nursery, brought them home, (I already knew I had a suitable pot-wide and shallow) found some colored gravel from a long-ago crafts project, dug them in, watered, left them in the dark for about two weeks.  At the end of the two weeks, they had sprouted, and I brought them into the light.

Yes, they were easy.  And I didn't even have to stake them.

They've been blooming a bit over a week now and:  the scent is strong.  Yes, as advertised, it can fill a room.

My spouse loves the scent.

I can't stand it.  To me, it smells kind of industrial, with an undertone of manure.  What a disappointment!  But the flowers are pretty, and I do take them off the windowsill from time to time so that spouse can enjoy it.

Was it just me?  Do I have a strange sense of smell? (I can't stand the scent of Russian Olive tree flowers, either- a scent that my spouse absolutely adores.)

No, it isn't me.  I'm not alone.

Apparently (if the article I am linking to is correct) about a quarter of the population has a problem with the scent of paperwhites, at least the mass produced ones.  I noticed that the local supermarket was selling a variety called "Ziva".  What the nursery sold me, I do not know.

So, you can really be surprised sometime.  Yes, they were easy.  Yes, they were pretty.  But would I grow them again?  I don't think so, unless I can find one of the varieties that allegedly are more tolerable to those like me.

1 comment:

  1. Greetings from Americus. Paperwhites are like cilantro. There is scientific evidence to support that some people taste "soap", which is not pleasant, when tasting cilantro. Paperwhites are pleasant to some and obnoxious to others. That is why, here in Georgia, they remain OUTSIDE in the garden... :) Wishing you a very happy holiday season.
    Peace and love,
    Susan

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