I'm becoming one of those people. One of those Christmas-starts-at-the-stroke-of-midnight-on-Halloween-Thanksgiving-does-not-exist-get-the-tree-out-and-lights-up people. I'm trying to fight it, but I get a little worse every year. Last year we put the tree up the weekend before Thanksgiving (under protest from Sweet Husband), this year I already have wrapped presents ready to go in our spare bedroom. I justify it to people by saying that law school finals are rough and I need to get my Christmas stuff done early so I can study properly. But that's a big fat lie. I could easily do it all in December, I just like to get some extra mileage out of Christmas.
But one thing that really does need to be started early in order to be ready are the bulbs for my Christmas flowers. I went to Sunrise Garden Center the other day to get paperwhites to wrap up as gifts, and the cashier told me that if I want a Christmas Amaryllis, now is the time to start it.
So I picked out a "Mont Blanc" which is an all-white Amaryllis (we're having blue and white and silver decorations this year). I potted it up in soil up to the top third of the bulb, as per instructions, and am watering sparingly until it begins to grow. The best part is that, because Amaryllis don't need a dormant period, the bulb and pot are now sitting on my kitchen table instead of in the fridge.
The paperwhite bulbs were enormous, and also don't need refridgeration, so I went ahead and got some of those for myself too. I usually wait until closer to Christmas, but by then the bulbs are usually much more picked over and thus much smaller.
Paperwhites generally only take about a month to grow. Looking back, last year I planted around December 7th and they were just barely blooming for Christmas. I'd like them to bloom earlier this year because we'll have guests for graduation on the 16th, so that would ordinarily mean a mid-November planting. But I wanted to go ahead and pot them up while I had the dirt out for the Amaryllis--one mess instead of two--so I went ahead and put them in dirt, but won't give them water until mid-month. Hopefully this will stay their growth enough to get the timing right. Paperwhites are good about holding their blooms for a few weeks, so even if I'm a little early it should still be ok.
And maybe if I have flowers growing we can put off the tree for a few more weeks at least....