The Paperwhite, Narcissus papyraceus, is a small white flower related to the Daffodil. Grown from a bulb, the plant is originally from the Mediterranean basin. It’s commonly thought of as a house plant—and “forced” to bloom indoors for the winter holidays.
By the way, forcing a bulb is a process that to some extent negates the old saw that you can’t fool Mother Nature. The idea is to convince a bulb that it has slept through winter and come into spring—and that now is the time to send forth flowers. This psychological manipulation of the bulb is accomplished by cooling it in a dark place for some time and then putting it someplace warm, such as a sunny window, to experience virtual spring. A prisoner in a dark cell can have their sense of time totally warped in the interests of their captors, and the same thing is true when it comes to bulbs.
But I digress, a common thing for me when it comes to flowers. It seems that I have Paperwhites growing without being forced in my garden, and blooming this time of year. I don’t remember intentionally planting them. I think we must have been given a forced Paperwhite in a pot. After it was finished blooming I must have popped the bulb out of its pot and into the garden and forgotten about it, and, voilà, this little Narcissus papyraceus patch in December was the result. How cool is that?
In fact, it does not get very cold in my garden. It rarely gets any cooler than 45 degrees Farenheit here in the hills of Berkeley, California—cool enough for the Paperwhites, and temperate enough for me to stay warm even though the garden was wet from a light rain when I photographed these flowers the other morning.
Least Popular Posts: I’ve added a neat widget to my blog that displays the least popular posts I’ve ever written. You can see these neglected stories listed about half way down the Masthead on the right, just below Recent Posts. I thought these stories were dead and buried deep. There’s a certain morbid fascination in watching them rise from the blog post grave like the Undead—until some poor, hapless visitor to my blog clicks on them. By the very act of opening one of these stories they become more popular than their peers, and escape off the Undead Blog Story list!