Another part of the winter experience at the Ginter Botanical Garden is closing the conservatory door behind you, breathing in the moist air, and smelling paperwhites.
Day by day, we're getting a tour of Ginter Garden. Sure looks pretty. I'll be tuning in tomorrow for the next photo.
January 04, 2007 at 05:44 PM
That's exactly what I think when I smell paperwhites. They are lovely to look at, but I can't handle the odor. Glad to hear I'm not the only one.
January 04, 2007 at 06:44 PM
Pee-yuuu, but Pre-tty!
January 04, 2007 at 08:49 PM
I've heard that paperwhite pleasure--without the overpowering perfume--can be found. A yellow version of this narcissus is supposed to be more mellow.
Some gardeners also get the paperwhite look, with a more subtle, orange fragrance, from the harder-to-find water fairy or Chinese sacred lily (Narcissus tazetta v orientalis). The Zanthan Gardens (www.zanthan.com) blog, based in Austin (where else?), has more on this.
Personally, I hate paperwhites. A more sinister confession: I'm not even that fond of tulips. I mean, the leftover foliage! It's like a balding man with a comb-over.
January 04, 2007 at 09:25 PM
That's why I'm glad they grow outside here!
Annie in Austin |
January 04, 2007 at 09:25 PM
I can't dislike anything that's gracious enough to bloom for me this time of year. A friend who knows me well sent me some bulbs to force and they are just starting to do that for me now. Mine don't stink though, they are very mild. My Amaryllis is just about done and otherwise I'll just be waiting for spring crocus and the like. After our recent blizzards totalling 40 inches of snow I'm happy to see blooms, if only on my windowsill.
Pam L |
January 04, 2007 at 10:40 PM
Once someone pointed out to me that the smell of paperwhites was very close to that of burning electrical wiring, I have had problems with them. To me, it really does smell the same and my first reaction is to wonder what's burning in the garden.
They look pretty , though, and are about the only thing blooming in the garden right now. I even fought down my smell repulsion and brought some inside a few days ago. Maybe I will get over the whole smell thing with time, but it is good to know that someone else find their odor a bit "off".
Douglas E. Welch |
January 04, 2007 at 10:49 PM
LOL The first time I forced paperwhites I walked around my house for a day or so going "what is that SMELL??" I didn't even think that such a pretty flower could smell so bad. And, it was our first year in a new house, so I was still worried about unseen things like mold or Douglas' burning electrical wires :-)
January 05, 2007 at 08:53 AM
I couldn't agree with you more and the others who have commented on paperwhite's smell. The malodorous flower is pretty but not enough to grace this house. My wife bought a bunch to force for one time only and they now reside outside in the garden. They managed to survive the NJ winter last year and came up in the Spring so I guess they're fairly hardy.
January 05, 2007 at 12:01 PM
I always thought of the smell as close to some type of industrial-strength cleaner. Not the most pleasing, but I can put up with it.
This year I made the mistake of forcing them on my kitchen table -- food and paperwhites NOT the best combo, but as I usually eat in front of the TV, it worked out fine.
Trying forcing other bulbs - any bulb will do. I stay away from hyacinth myself as that IS a bit over-powering for indoors.
Kathy Jentz, Washington Gardener |
January 05, 2007 at 12:56 PM
When I was given some blooming paperwhites I had the same experience of looking for an electical problem and then thinking there was something stinky in the garbage...I've avoided them ever since.
January 05, 2007 at 01:06 PM
You know, I went back and now that more of them are blooming they DO smell like burnt electrical parts. I never noticed that before, but I've never forced them indoors either. Luckily they are in the study , not near and dining or sleeping.
Pam L |
January 05, 2007 at 02:28 PM
My son thought the ones on my desk smelled like model airplane glue--they were fading, though, and their scent intensifying. I grow all sorts of paperwhites and related narcissus. I think the old-fashioned ones are nice. I've smelled some of the new varieties at garden centers and have to agree--they stink.
M Sinclair Stevens (Texas) |
January 10, 2007 at 10:04 PM
I was wondering if I happened to buy a pot that was pee-d upon or something. My den stinks of urine. I really thought it was the pot, but after further detective work, I realized that the scent wasn't the pot, it was the stinky flowers that I've always wanted! YUCK. Can I stick these guys outside?! (IT's november now.)
s K |
November 19, 2007 at 12:38 PM
My boss bought some from Union Square and the moment he took them out of the bag I thought someone's dog had urinated on them. It wasn't until I looked it up that I realized why they smelled. Mother nature sure has a sense of humor!
March 06, 2008 at 09:55 AM
I adore the smell of paperwhites. It reminds me of the apartment my friends and I had the first Christmas after college. For my kids, too, it just wouldn't be Christmas without 3 or 4 paperwhites blooming in the kitchen!
Susan McLaughlin |
December 20, 2008 at 06:22 PM
Did the apartment you and your friends have in college smell like cat piss? If so, I guess I understand your nostalgia. They have no place in my home however.
January 05, 2009 at 09:36 PM
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