In ancient times, people dragged evergreen boughs into their dwellings to remind them that every other year, spring and blooms had returned, and sun and warmth probably would return this year, too. In these modern times, when we can calculate when the sun will rise down to the minute, we call the state of being driven to distraction for lack of flowers: bloomsick. Nowadays, luckily, we have much more sophisticated ways of coping with bloomsickness.


You can set it up so that amaryllis (Hippeastrum) and paperwhite bulbs arrive in the mail, and you need never be without a bloom.

I was just at the big fancy grocery store, the one with a tiny flower section, and they already have the first pots of forced crocus and tête-a-tête daffodils out. For $3.99, in your very own home you can watch the little green shoots emerge, followed by the fragile purple crocus.

purple crocus close-up

And around now, branches of forsythia, quince, and other flowering shrubs or trees can be coaxed into bloom by cutting a few with flower buds, bringing them indoors and giving them a nice long drink of cold water. Gradually, day by day, the leaves and blossoms will unfurl, and ta da, some blooms!

If you are willing to travel a little farther afield, a florists' or flower shop can give you a quick fix of blooms. The scented and deeply humid air has a special effect on us, dosn't it? bundles of tulips ready to be sold

Even the plant section of the local building and garden supply store can help us for a while. The plants are not the main focus at this time of year and so are not well taken care of, and blooms are few and a row of parlor palms growing outside at the LA Botanical Gardensfar between. Still, just brushing along a row of parlor palms is sometimes soothing.

The ultimate flower store is, of course, a flower show. There may be one near you that you will find so rejuvenating that it's worth a trip. Local flower shows are smaller and have fewer crowds than the big regional shows. Sometimes Dave's Garden subscribers will arrange a trip for their area—check your regional forum for details.

2010 Boston Flower and Garden Show

In the Boston area, in addition to the Boston Flower & Garden Show in March, we have the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum's indoor courtyard with nasturtiums in April to look forward to. Look up "flower show" and your state in a favorite online search engine—you may be surprised at what comes up. (I was.)

And when we get really desperate, as we always do, we start collections. Some collect catalogs; I know one person who received 40! That's some colorful browsing material. Others plant winter sowing jugs—67! 120! How many did you plant?

I used to buy a lot of gardening magazines, and read and reread them. Now, instead, I collect packages of seeds. True, it's more expensive than the recycled materials used for winter sowing and definitely more trouble than the catalogs that come flooding in, unbidden. But it's cheaper than homeade seed packetcollecting jewelry (I remind my husband), and takes up less space than collecting vintage cars. I only collect packages with pretty pictures on them, flowers that I might, someday plant.

I've learned that as a member of Dave's Garden, I can go to Extras at the top of my screen, scroll all the way down on the left to where it says "For Gardeners, by Gardeners" and download some lovely FREE seed packets to assemble myself. Meanwhile, I hold on to my $1.79 package of seeds and dream of bloom time.

Photo credits thanks to palmbob, doss, gardenmart, Kelli, and the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum. Seed packet courtesy of MzMunchken. There are no blooms to photograph near me, at the moment.