Forcing, Etc: The Indoor Gardeners Guide to Bringing Builbs, Branches Houseplants Into Bloom

ISBN 10: 0761115129 / ISBN 13: 9780761115120
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Synopsis: Imagine it: the glorious color and fragrance of a garden in bloom, brought indoors. Paperwhites at Thanksgiving. Crocus, amaryllis, and tulips for the holidays. Great vases of flowing forsythia filling rooms with spring---in the dead of February. It's all the magic of forcing bulbs, branches, and blossoms, and here's the book that shows how.

Written by award-winning author Katherine Whiteside and drawing on the plant- and bulb-purveying expertise of Smith & Hawken, Forcing, Etc. combines hands-on-how-to with an artist's passion for detail to show how to grow dozens of common and exotic plants, including hardy bulbs--crocus, narcissus, muscari, and iris; tender bulbs--oxalis, calla lily, clivia; branches--apple and apricot to bittersweet, moosewood, and quince; and tender plants--fuchsia, coleus, clematis, lemongrass, and scented geraniums. In addition, the author focuses on presentation and display: choosing unexpected containers; creating tripods, trellises, and tuteurs; and orchestrating an indoor garden for balance of bloom and color.

Review: What's a dyed-in-the-wool gardener to do when faced with stubborn Old Man Winter's downright refusal to let much of anything grow? Force it, that's what. Forcing is the art of convincing a bulb, branch, houseplant, or cutting to flower when it would otherwise be dormant. So when the drabness of winter and its attendant exorbitant price for cut flowers hits you, try forcing.

It's not difficult, but it does take some planning and foresight. If you want to force bulbs to flower in February, for instance, you have to order them in late summer so that you can pot them up in the fall. Twigs, on the other hand, are much easier to force: just cut them after six weeks of cold weather, put them in some water, and watch the virtual spring of your warm rooms transform them into leggy, flowering spirea, corylopsis, forsythia, or catkins, for instance. Author Katherine Whiteside explores associated topics such as choosing the best container and presentation within the home, as well as topics only an expert could love ("the narcissus question").

Forcing, Etc. is a good read. It's not a reference book in the truest sense of the word; the lack of an index is at fault there. This doesn't mean that there's not an awful lot of good information here for beginners and adepts, well and entertainingly written. But when you want to check on the fertilizer ratio for your calla lilies, you'll have to page through the entire book to find it (in a very small typeface, too). But with Richard Felber's gorgeous photos on every page, maybe that's not such a bad thing to have to do. --Stefanie Durbin

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Title: Forcing, Etc: The Indoor Gardeners Guide to ...
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