Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Magic of Paperwhites

A few years ago I discovered the beauty and magic of paperwhites. To me they epitomize the grace, tranquility, and delicacy, that says "Christmas".

Three years ago I started gathering vintage sugar bowls and creamers, pots and kitchen bowls, humble mismatched cups and vases; containers of every kind. I planted paperwhites and sold them at the store and gave them away to family and friends. I enjoyed it so much, they were great gifts, so this year I did the same.

These next two photos are of last year in my space at Leola's.

Milk glass and pottery and ironstone cups.
An old bread pan with checked ribbon, a little more primitive.
I think I had around thirty containers full.

This year I planted twelve bulbs in a green
transferware vegetable bowl for the Dining Room.

Christmas coffee mugs with a paperwhite bulb
I had four of these matching mugs,
 they went as small gifts.

I tied them with plaid ribbon
 and attached a "mitten" ornament and tag.

Old Staffordshire blue transferware soup tureen,
 missing it's lid, found for just a few dollars.

A little over a week ago...
And today.

Shabby china sugar bowl.

And old McCoy cream planter in the kitchen.

Paperwhite Narcissus are really easy to grow. Just find a container that doesn't drain, because they need to stay moist at all time. Place some pea gravel in the bottom, with about 2 inches of potting soil mix, then nestle the bulb, root down in the soil. Water and keep in a bright spot. You will be amazed at how fast they grow. Paperwhites bulbs don't keep well, so I just discard them after bloom time. Buy several bulbs and plant at alternating times. You can have them all winter long!

Are you finished with all your shopping?
Have a wonderful weekend!


  1. Debra, funny you should do this post, I too planted some today. I had some that were starting to bloom, I dug them up and planted in a pot to put on my porch. Their smell always reminds me of Spring. Merry Christmas my friend, T PS, love all your containers that you've shown.

  2. I so LOVE this idea Debra!! I have never grown paperwhites before , but would love to try next year. Love the containers you chose too!!

  3. Every year, for MANY years, I have thought about planting some paperwhites. However, by the time I actually get serious about it, it is too late to expect Christmas blooms. When I sign off here, I'm going to write it in my date book - 6 weeks before Christmas. Maybe I'll have paperwhites in 2010!

  4. Hi Debra:
    What a beautiful idea...and a great way to utilize containers that often sit dormant. I can see where they would be the perfect addition to a holiday table.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. We all need a little green and white in our lives! I LOVE this Idea! Thank you! I think I will use this, I have some teapots with no lids that I have been holding on to, now they can live again. LOL

  6. I missed your paperwhites this year. Love all your containers, especially the green transferware. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas & maybe we can do lunch sometime. Jan

  7. a very beautiful post...i love paperwhites, too. and btw,your blog header is just lovely:)


  8. Beautiful! They really do grow so fast. I wonder if I can find them in Kuwait. Love all the containers you have planted them in. What a great gift! Holiday blessings :) Tammy

  9. Debra,

    What a great idea. It never occurred to me to use cups and pottery the way you have. LOVE the paperwhites.


  10. I have planted those before and love them but all of yours are so pretty. Love the different containers that you used. Great getting ideas from the blog world:) Happy Sunday!

  11. What a great idea. I have several beautiful containers that are chiped or missing lids, etc. I am going to give this a whirl for Valentine's Day :-)

    Thanks so much for the inspiration,

  12. Ms. Debra,
    I love the idea of the paper whites. I cannot grow anything. I have managed to kill and ivy and a cactus!! A cactus!!! lol.
    Merry Christmas.

  13. I love decorating with paperwhites....your post is gorgeous. I have four huge bags of bulbs sitting outside,,,,sure hope it is not too late for them!

  14. Hi Debra,
    I'm ooohing and aaahing over all the wonderful containers you have collected and planted in. Love them!!! I adore paperwhites, my husband, not so much. Drat! I've planted them every year for ten years...and every year (for ten years) he has complained about the smell. I still love them.

  15. Hi Debra,
    This is perhaps the first year that I didn't plant paperwhites. I usually find them at Walmart just around October, but none this year!! Bummer. Walmart said they weren't bringing in any bulbs. I never seemed to remeber to check my local nursey when I was hurrying around town, so I am glad I got to enjoy yours!! I love the ones in the transfer tureen. Have a blessed Christmas my friend
    My Very Best

  16. Hello Debra,
    I love the wallpaper on your blog and they way you change your banner with beautiful images. The paperwhites are gorgeous and somehow didn't get around to it this year. All the more wonderful that you displayed them so beautifully on your blog. I find a spot in my garden for the spent bulbs. They do naturalize and eventually put up lovely display of the flowers. Wishes for a Merry Christmas.

  17. Oh, I loved seeing all the paperwhites. A real favorite of mine.

    CHRISTmas Blessings!


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