And then it was quiet. Growers around us have finished planting and the fields surrounding our home are now covered in golden straw to give the flower bulbs a warm and comfortable bed during winter.
This view is especially nice when you look at it from the Petna. Last week, I told you that there is probably no place on Earth as flat as the polder here, but I completely forgot to tell you about wat we call the ‘Petna’, named after the volcano and the village Petten. As the finishing touch to the gigantic operation to get our dikes to have the same strength as a Delta work, they created an enormous dune behind Petten. They made it a true hotspot by creating a viewpoint and everything.
From behind our house you can see the Petna very well. In the photo above she is about to burst, but there would also be people who call this a romantic sunset. But if you climb the Petna, you have a view over all the flower bulb fields (and over the sea on the other side, but who wants to see that?)
This photo was taken at the end of October.
And this one was taken a few days ago.
You can see which growers cover their fields in the golden straw. The large windmill on the left is the Fluwel windmill, and the large warehouse at the right side of the horizon is our warehouse.
If you drive from our house towards Den Helder you can see the straw for half an hour. In this photo you can also see our warehouse in the background, with our windmill on the left.
Just North of Callantsoog, next to the dunes.
Just underneath Den Helder at the Donkere Duinen.
You simply see a lot of straw. We will have to wait until next spring.
But it’s not like there is no work for the growers. There is still a lot that has to be retrieved from the fields. Some people are now busy wit their Lilies, others have their Dahlias and there are also growers who are getting their greenhouses ready to grow Tulips during winter.
Jacqueline and I have been planting a lot of Daffodils in pots lately. These daffodils have been in a cooling cell for about eight weeks. We do this to make the bulbs experience spring a bit earlier, as Daffodils are fairly easy to get to bloom after about four winter months. The Daffodils spend the first two months in an actual cooling cellar. The last two months they are in the cold, but in large pots, so they can make new roots.
If they have reached the end of the four winter months at the end of January, we bring the pots to a warmed greenhouse. Then, the Daffodil will think that they have had a good night’s sleep and are ready to start flowering.
This way we have beautiful, blooming Daffodils at the end of February, in time for the Lentetuin (a flower show open to the public in Breezand). The Lentetuin of 2021 has been cancelled, but we are growing the Daffodils anyway. Who knows, maybe there will be an opportunity to show them to the people somewhere. Besides, it also teaches us a lot about our own bulbs and abilities, so it is always good to do.
If you take a good look at the pots it may seem like we have planted the bulbs on sand, but we actually didn’t. They are planted in regular soil.
We always put a little bit of sand on top of the bulbs to prevent them from growing upwards. The roots of some daffodils are so large after two months in a cooling cellar that they grow into the soil and press the bulb upwards. The layer of sand gives some extra resistance and makes sure the roots continue to grow in the soil.
Here, you can see how the bulbs are nearly pushed out of the pot.
You can easily so this for yourself, even if you don’t have a cooling cellar. What you should do is this: when you plant your bulbs in October or November, you also plant a pot with bulbs into the soil. If you take the entire pot out after four months, and then put this in your room temperature house, they will flower after about four weeks.
So if you plant your bulbs in a pot in October, just put about 5 cm of soil on top of the pot and take it out at the beginning of February. You will have blooming flowers in early March, inside your home. It is really worth a shot!
You can do this with all Tulips and Daffodils of which I tell you on my website are okay to be planted in pots. The varieties that have my approval for this don’t get too tall when you put them in your living room. And make sure to use a pot with holes in the bottom, because if you don’t, your bulbs will most likely drown when they take a heavy rainfall. If you want to put the pot in your living room, you just put the entire thing inside a larger, prettier pot.
You could also put them outside again after a few weeks of room temperature. It is usually still colder outside than inside in this time of year, so they will be in bloom much longer.
If you want to try this this year, and you still have to buy them, I recommend doing it soon, because a lot is getting sold out.
Amaryllises are still available in a large number of varieties. But they are very popular too this year, so don’t let them slip through your fingers! Especially the special Amaryllis vase seems to be doing well, they are nearly out of stock.
Carlos van der Veek