Speeding Up Spring

Are you experiencing a case of cabin fever? Don’t be discouraged and let the cabin fever get to you—instead, speed up spring!


One of the best ways to bring spring to you is to start your gardening early—indoors! Rather than waiting on mother nature to cooperate for a display of spring colours, get things started yourself by forcing bulbs.


Indoor gardening is a very accessible way to garden. There is no need to bend over or kneel on the hard ground. Bulbs require very little maintenance or effort. Indoor gardening is a great way to connect with an elderly loved one’s passion and hobby without being overwhelming or too physically demanding. It can also be a great intergenerational activity, drawing children and grandparents—or even great grandparents—together over a common task.



Forcing bulbs indoors mimic the outdoor environment that causes a bulb to grow and bloom. Unlike large, potted house plants, bulbs do not need big pots. A small, shallow dish is sufficient. Many bulbs are easily forced using only water and pebbles, rather than soil, resulting in much easier clean up when gardening indoors. It is also more fun to watch the roots develop and see the bulb change as it grows. New growth development is exciting to see—at any age!


Using your shallow container, fill it half full of pebbles or marbles, then place the bulbs on top of the pebble layer. Gently fill the rest of the container with pebbles or marbles to secure the bulbs in place, but do not completely bury the bulbs. Put enough water in the dish so that the water touches the bottom of the bulb, but do not submerge the bulb in water or it will begin to rot.


The step that is most often overlooked when forcing bulbs is the chilling step. Your freshly “planted” bulbs need to be chilled in a cellar or in the fridge to mimic the winter season. Some bulbs only need a few days of chilling, and others need a much more extended chilling period of several weeks. Be sure to check the specifications on the bulbs that you purchase.


NOTE: Please do NOT store bulbs in an elderly person’s fridge. If that person has dementia or mild cognitive impairment, the bulbs (or pebbles) could be mistaken for other produce. Likewise, if your loved one has impaired vision, the bulbs could appear similar to onions. Senses such as taste and smell become dulled for many people as they age; the smell or bitter taste that might alert you to food being harmful may not alert an elderly loved one.


When roots begin to show you will know that your bulbs are ready to begin their growth cycle and it is time to remove them from the chilling stage. With roots now showing, your bulbs are ready to be moved into warmth and sunlight. You need to introduce them to sunlight slowly, just the way that the spring sunlight is soft at first and then gradually gets warmer. Place your bulbs in a cooler area of your home, away from direct sunlight. When your plants begin to grow and the stems take on a healthy green colour, then it is time to move them to a sunny windowsill to watch the beauty unfold!


In theory, any bulb can be forced to grow indoors, but some varieties are easier to force than others. Paperwhite narcissus grows well indoors and does not require a very long chilling period. They grow well in water and pebbles and are quite fragrant. Amaryllis are very easy to force and the blooms are giant and colourful. They grow so quickly that you can see growth daily.



The warmer the environment, the faster the amaryllis will grow. Once it blooms, it is best to move the plant to a cooler, shaded area for the blooms to last longer, as they can remain for up to a month.


Hyacinth and crocus can also be forced and take eight to ten weeks to grow. Although tulips are a favourite spring bloom, they are probably best enjoyed out in the garden as they can be trickier to force and require a long chilling period of sixteen weeks.


Enjoy your head start on spring by forcing your favourite bulbs indoors, and use this easy, timeless, and ageless activity to connect various members of your family. You will have spring beauty unfolding in your own living room—no matter how much snow remains on the ground outside!

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Valentine's Day isn't just for the young; it's a beautiful occasion to celebrate love and connection at any age. For many, this day holds special significance in cherishing relationships, and spending it with an elderly loved one can be incredibly rewarding.


Photo by Mandy von Stahl on Unsplash


Whether it's a parent, grandparent, or an elderly friend, here are some heartwarming ways to make Valentine's Day memorable for them:


1. Reminisce Together

Take a trip down memory lane by flipping through old photo albums or sharing stories of cherished moments. Reminiscing about the past can evoke feelings of nostalgia and strengthen the bond between you and your loved one.


2. Handwritten Letters

In today's digital age, receiving a handwritten letter can be a rare and deeply meaningful gesture. Take the time to write a heartfelt letter expressing your love, gratitude, and appreciation for your elderly loved one. It's a keepsake they can treasure for years to come.


3. Create a Personalized Playlist

Music has a powerful ability to evoke emotions and trigger memories. Curate a playlist featuring songs that hold special significance for your loved one. Whether it's songs from their youth or ones that remind them of significant moments in their life, listening together can be a heartwarming experience.


4. Plan a Special Outing

Depending on your loved one's mobility and interests, plan a special outing tailored to their preferences. It could be a leisurely stroll in the park, a visit to their favorite café, or even a drive to a scenic spot. The key is to focus on activities that bring them joy and make them feel cherished.


5. Enjoy a Special Meal

Cooking a delicious meal together or treating your loved one to their favorite dish can be a delightful way to celebrate Valentine's Day. If cooking isn't an option, consider ordering from their favorite restaurant or preparing a picnic-style meal to enjoy indoors.


6. Capture the Moment

Take photos or videos throughout the day to capture precious moments spent together. These memories will serve as a beautiful reminder of your love and the special bond you share, preserving them for years to come.


7. Simply Be Present

Above all, the most meaningful gift you can give your elderly loved one is your presence. Spend quality time together, listen attentively to their stories, and shower them with love and affection. Sometimes, it's the simplest moments that leave the greatest impact.


Valentine's Day is a wonderful opportunity to express love and appreciation for the elderly loved ones in our lives. By incorporating these thoughtful gestures and activities, you can create lasting memories and strengthen the bond you share, making this Valentine's Day truly special for both of you.

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