Keith Hansen, Smith County Extension Agent, writes a column each week which is published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph.
The link above is to Keith’s blog which includes his column and other gardening news and tips.
Dee Bishop, Smith County Master Gardener, writes a weekly column which is published in the Tyler Morning Telegraph each week.
March 6th Column
Ice is devastating, especially this late in winter. In all my life, I have never seen an ice storm come later than January. Coming at this time, when our early spring trees, shrubs, and flowers were in full bloom, is unheard of—but we must remember, this is Texas and what is out-of-the-ordinary always happens sooner or later.
We are all wondering how much damage has been done and we won’t know for a while. I looked at my daffodils today and some are actually holding up pretty well, but the heavy headed ones like this narcissus look completely mushy. Their little stems turned to mush and can’t hold up the heavy clusters of flowers.
Take a look at this little ice embellished narcissus. Grandma called them paperwhites. They bloom early and have a very strong but lovely fragrance. I never bring these into my house because of their over powering fragrance, but I love looking at them and smelling them outdoors where their fragrance isn’t so strong. There are several varieties of what are known as Tazetta hybrids, Grand Monarch, Seventeen Sisters, Avalanche, and others such as these old paperwhites.
Paperwhites are often forced in vases during winter as are many other bulbs. It is fun to watch them grow and bloom, but I find the fragrance too strong inside. If you have ever tried forcing narcissus bulbs, you may have had trouble with them falling over (I did). I read on line that if you add one part alcohol (rubbing alcohol or vodka) to seven parts water to force them in, the foliage will grow much shorter and stand up straight. I haven’t tried this yet, but you may wish to do so next fall. The information I read said not to use beer or wine because of the sugar content which will cause rot.
I have an idea that all our little bulbs will be fine. They are used to extreme weather and have become Texas tough because of it.
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