Saturday, January 14, 2017

Paperwhites, Fresh or Faux?

I've had this little obsession with Paperwhites for about 10 years now. There is just something so pristine and snowy fresh about a grouping of them. In the past I would buy around a hundred bulbs each season close to Halloween and start the planting process. That was the fun part, I've planted bulbs in everything from Santa Mugs to Antique Ironstone Tureens to the re-purposed clear glass jars that candles come in from Bath and Body Works. I love them and never get tired of them.

I kept a bag of potting soil and small pea gravel in my garage at all times. I would stagger the plantings so I had fresh Paperwhites from the middle of November until Easter. Their tiny white flowers remind me of small orchids but of course don't offer a long-time bloom. Some people complain of the "aroma", but I've never found it that offensive. To me it's just more of an earthy/loamy smell.

I have a few faux Paperwhite bulbs and many times you can find clusters of stems with flowers at Hobby Lobby or Michaels. I know myself, sometimes I will see gorgeous silk flowers but don't know exactly where I'd use them or in what container. Then you have to think about how the arrangement will look...will it look fake? how do I get them to stay upright?, what do I cover the base with to make it look realistic?

I just wanted to share this little idea that I came up with this weekend that made sense of those questions. Since Paperwhites are so tall you have to figure out a way to keep them in your container and upright. I have this great little galvanized bucket that I seem to use all the time. It's just the right size for flowers (and little faux Christmas Trees).

These bulbs have a couple of sturdy spikes on them that I could have used anchored in a floral block or Styrofoam, but I didn't think I'd need to since I was planning to use material to keep them together and upright. 

I had this roll of grapevine fencing that I bought at Hobby Lobby several years ago. I always save my flower arrangement elements (like moss and shredded paper, filler, etc.) so that I can use bits and pieces again for later projects. I'm not sure what I had this on but I trimmed it down so it would fit inside the bucket.

The grapevine fencing alone, keeps them pretty straight. 

Then I packed the sides with shredded packing paper first, 

Then added the moss in on top.

This is super easy and I actually put it together before I thought about taking the photos. (I'm not a very good diy blogger, sorry) This is a simple little idea, and I almost didn't share it as a post, because I know you all have great ideas yourselves. But since I almost didn't use this bucket, I thought it might give someone else the idea that they could try this in another similar or more shallow container. Of course you could just use ribbon or twine to keep the wayward stems corralled like I do with real Paperwhite blooms.

I think these look so real, it's hard to see that they're just silks.
I think I might try adding in a few twigs or sticks,
and maybe some gardener's twine to make it even more realistic.

You can see by the background I've been rearranging the Baker's Rack 
and changing up the quilt on the settee to get ready for some Valentine Inspiration.

Here are a few more pics from my Pinterest Board, Paperwhites

The Ice Storm that was running through the upper Midwest has been a little north of us so we've missed the worst of it. We still have rain in the forecast till Sunday evening. We're hoping to have dodged this one! OK stay warm and dry and keep the candles and blankets closeby!


Joining in here:
Sundays at Home at Love of Home
Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings
The Scoop at Worthing Court
Share Your Style at The Essence of Home
Feathered Nest Friday at French Country Cottage


  1. Good idea and it was so nice to dream for a minute about bulbs sharing their flowers. Mini vacation. Hugs Debra.

  2. Wonderful ideas. Thanks so much for sharing.

  3. So sorry about the weather woes, Debra. I have narcissus in clumps all over the yard (here in Texas) and they should be blooming the end of the month. Even 15 degrees the other to nights did not bother these guys. The scent can be cloying when brought indoors, but I love them! p.s. Still getting two versions of your email notices. Got this one this evening and will get another one some time tomorrow. It doesn't bother me, don't worry. Am I the only one ?

    1. Hi Patty, gosh, I'm sorry about the duplicate email notice. It could be that your email is listed twice. It's a great service but I have to reset the settings after a post otherwise if I do anything different like add a link it will resend. I'll send you a "reply" to this comment and hopefully I can check. thanks for letting me know, I don't want to bug people with too many emails. so so sorry!

  4. I thought those faux were real. Love the way you put this together with the browns and greens. I think they would be pretty at Easter in a Woodlands type setting. Will be looking for some. Thanks.

  5. I love how you use the grape vine as a little fence around the Paper whites. I've never seen it and I imagine it would be helpful with a lot of droopy plants.

    I've had some strong smelling Paper whites but I think it might depend on the variety. I do love growing them, especially in glass love to watch the whole process (me too!).

    Jane x

  6. Those DO look real - great ideas, thanks for sharing. I am one of those who does not like the fragrance of paperwhites. Double whammy since my hubbs cannot bear fragrance of any kind. Glad the storm missed you, was wondering.

  7. I love paper whites too. I love the grapevine and metal bucket. So pretty. Happy Sunday.
    Have a great new week ahead.

  8. Ah, great tutorial Debra. A trick I learned in the flower shops I worked in---is simple skinny waterproof clear tape, which is great for stabilizing bulbs or stems, or elements in an arrangement. You can make a grid of it inside a glass container, and you won't even see it. For stabilizing tall stems like paper whites, a grid within the bucket and then the moss would work also. I love the look, I remember doing red amaryllis fro my grandmother for many years, she loved that. Love the old tureen, and the water marks, just make it more endearing, Thanks, Sandi

    1. I love fresh flowers but don't use them very often indoors because of allergies, but this is a great idea that could be used for. thanks for the tip!

  9. I love paperwhites...this is such a great arrangement!

  10. I would never have guessed they weren't the real deal! I've got a tool caddy with 6 little cubbies just waiting to be planted with faux paperwhites. Thanks for the inspiration, Debra!

    Glad the ice storm missed you. :o)

  11. This is so pretty, Debra, I'd never guess they were faux! Great ideas for keeping them straight, too. I always wanted to do the "real" thing. . .but was always to late to start them. And, the way our house is built, it gets very little sun for the weeks between November 15th and beginning of January. Maybe I should think about those artificial flowers/bulbs!

  12. Yes, storms throughout the Midwest. I just went out and got groceries and dog food. I guess I'll need to try this. Because every year I say I'm going to plant them and then I forget.

  13. These narcissus are simple and wonderfull at the same time. Very good the idea to put them in that wood bucket!! I like it very much!! They light the room!

  14. I love paperwhites and don't mind the smell. I actually kind of like it. Yours look SO real! I was fooled until you said they were fake. I love how you arranged them in the bucket with moss and grapevine. Very pretty! So glad that you dodged the storm too. The news coverage of it looks terrible!

  15. I just love this look this time of year! I would never have guessed that your blooms weren't real. Not having the scent would be a bonus. I'm also sensitive to smells. Love that you can see a bit of the supporting wire. Your displays are always so appealing!

  16. I love paper whites. The smell can be a little over powering so I like faux in our room. The real ones can stay down stairs. I love them in all stages of their growth. I got mine several weeks before Christmas and they still aren't blooming. Your potting of the silks is amazing. So cute. I can't wait to see what Valentine treasures you come up with.


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