Friday, January 08, 2010

Greenish-brown thumb

Since obviously we don't have children, and my apartment building (and husband) prohibits labradoodles, I get a lot of pride from my plants. I have five total, and they've done surprisingly well in our apartment's climate.

West Seattle has a great nursery where I found paper whites a few weeks ago. I remember forcing these spring-flowering bulbs into winter bloom way back when, but was wondering how they'd do without much sunlight and in an 80 degree apartment (I like it warm). West Seattle Nursery, however, may have anticipated my concern because the bulbs came with an instruction sheet. I do well with plants that have directions.

I 'planted' the bulbs in about two inches of rocks and water and placed them on our windowsill. Sure enough, it only took one day for two of the three (I had one dud) to begin sprouting up out of their Ikea planters. 

The bulb on the right in the photograph above developed quite a lean two days fact, it was nearly laying over onto the table. Fortunately, my instructions highlighted some advice out of Cornell University: "After roots have developed and stems have grown about 2 in. tall, replace the water in the bowl with a mix of 1 part 80-proof liquor (gin, vodka, rum, tequila, and whiskey all work) to 7 parts water." Although Dom's bar has significantly less Russian vodka in stock these days I'm very proud of how tall my little paperwhite stands now.

I was pretty excited about the success of this ingenious Cornell trick and it reminded me of some advice I got last year from Dominic's roommate about tulips. When they start to droop you throw one nickel into the bottom of the vase and they perk right up in a day as well. 

Can anyone help me with my dying orchid? I'm not sure what to do about this stem:

Here's my little basil that could. The thing won't give up even though the base of the plant is completely brown!

I haven't found any $100 bills growing off this money tree yet... but it's a new year. Anything's possible right? 


Anonymous said...

Your plants are looking good. I thought they told you to cut off the brown thing on the orchid but I'll consult Tom McNutt on that one and get back to you. Nice to know there is an alternative to the Russian vodka....think our Armenian cognac would do the same thing??


Anonymous said...

You should have see the website. Tom McNutt did a special on indoor plants and orchids in particular. 80 degrees??? Wow, you must be running a green house out there! Why waste good alcohol on plants.???

Love UT

Sarah and Dominic said...

Eeww! Russian vodka... we have different tastes!