Indoor Kitchen Herb Garden in DIY Chalkboard Wine Crate

For gardeners, this is a fickle time of year.    Daytime temperatures on some days soar and flowering trees are bursting into bloom.  But night time temperatures are still plummeting and the impatient gardener has to keep the trowel in the shed for a little while longer.  In the case of my Northern friends and family, spring is in the distant future and they are desperate to get playing in the dirt!    I thought this little project would bring fresh herbs into your kitchen to liven up the spring cooking we all crave while also getting us gardening without the fear of frost killing our plants.Pesto recipe now becomes a French gardening quote! Continue reading

No Water Flowers: New From Holland

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A Dutch grower, Vreugdenhill Bulbs, has an exciting new series of waxed bulbs that require no water, no soil and are guaranteed to bloom in 3-6 weeks!imageThey are marketed by the fun name WAXZ.image

These carefree and modern bulbs come with a special metal spiral stand embedded in the wax layer to make them stand upright.  This makes them versatile and they can literally be plopped down anywhere and left to bloom without any attention!  They don’t require sun, soil or water.  The bulb has been grown to have all the nutrition it requires stored in the bulb.  The roots get cut short before the bulb is dipped in the decorative wax.  These bulbs are intended for a single bloom season.

imageThe  wax layer comes in a variety of colors and finishes which makes them a creative design option.  They can be marbled, metallic,in a multitude of fun colors and even velvet-coated!

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(Above 3 images courtesy of No Water Flowers)

The wax finish is applied by hand to specially selected bulbs which have been grown to have enough energy stored so the flower will grow without conventional feeding provided by water and soil.  The possibility of use are endless and they are adaptable to design ideas that could never have been considered before.

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I found plain red ones recently at my local Produce Junction, 3 bulbs, each in its own container, for an incredible $5!   For a fun Valentine’s Day gift, I surrounded a trio of bulbs in Dove Dark chocolate nuggets.

imageYou could gift them this way at Easter too with seasonal candy.  To demonstrate their versatility, I set a trio in an open metal basket surrounded with river rock.

imageModern, funky, easy and beautiful!  For now only amaryllis bulbs are being sold in wax.

To learn more, please visit the grower’s page at:

http://www.facebook.com/waxz.naturals

Update(March 3, 2014):  In  exactly 3 weeks, the bulb bloomed, as promised, and is gorgeous!  Stems are a bit shorter and don’t require staking, another bonus.

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FYI:  I found Wegman’s Supermarkets was selling these bulbs in November 2014 in the floral department for about $18 each.  They sell out quickly so when you find them, stock up.

Update November 2015:

The No water-wax amaryllis bulbs are for sale at very different price points:
Terrain at Styers $35 each, available online and in store
Wegmans Supermarkets $17.99
Lowes $12.98, below left or $15.98 for premium bulbs, below right, sold under Waxt brand, not Waxz.  The premium bulb is larger and for a less common variety of amaryllis, the gorgeous ‘Candy Stripe’

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First blooms appear in 3 weeks

First blooms appear in 3 weeks

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I have been asked if these bulbs can be grown in subsequent years.  Gardening friends have taken the wax off them and planted them the way regular amaryllis bulbs are forced in subsequent seasons and have had success. You have nothing to lose in trying.  In the Northeast, I removed the wax and let the bulb go dormant as one would do with regular amaryllis then set it in soil in a sunny location with regular watering.  So far, foliage only, no flowers.  Both then, I often have this same problem with my other amaryllis!

Update 2016:

Trader Joe’s started selling the bulbs.  They told me they import them from Holland bare and have them dipped in wax in Virginia.  Again, they sold out quickly and none could be found after the first week in December.  Some online sites were offering wax amaryllis for sale: Terrain(no metal spiral on these but at a lower price $16.95), Jackson and Perkins at various price points and finishes, boxed for gifting and also sold in multiples, Gardeners.com($29.95).  Like in stores, the wax bulbs sell out quickly online as well.  My impression is that these bulbs may be high maintenance for sellers as they are dipped in wax in the US and need to be sold quickly as they are grown to bloom in 3-4 weeks. This would perhaps explain why only limited quantities are available.