Clever Gardening Technique
Keep Paper Whites Standing Tall
Researchers at Cornell University have found a way to keep paper whites from flopping over. They forced the bulbs in pots filled with gravel and a 4- to 6-percent alcohol solution (no higher), made by mixing 7 parts water with 1 part 80-proof alcohol, such as gin, vodka, tequila, or rum (not beer or wine). It doesn't matter which type of liquor you use, as long as the concentration of alcohol is the same. Continue adding this solution as needed while the bulbs grow. This will result in stems that are about one-third to one-half the normal height.
You can always depend on the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to cover subjects authoritatively and concisely in their series of handbooks. My favorite new title is Hummingbird Gardens, with editor Stephen W. Kress (2007; $9.95). Eighteen species of hummers are described and pictured, as are some of their favorite plants from all regions of the country. The 112-page booklet also offers tips on, as the subtitle says, "Turning Your Yard Into Hummingbird Heaven."