Before Christmas, The Unicorn came home with a narcissus bulb in a lovely pottery dish.
“You know that hipster coffee shop over near the barber?” he asked. “They had a pop-up flower stand there today. The woman said this bulb will flower by Christmas.”
“I’m sorry,” I replied. “Did you say…pop-up flower stand?”
What can I say? Oakland knows how to bring the hipster thunder. Only they probably don’t call it thunder. They probably call it reverberation+air.
We set the pottery container in our living room, and both of us swore to keep it watered. But, as it turns out, the only living thing we are really good at nurturing right now is The Pickle.
“Does the narcissus need water?” The Unicorn asked me one day.
“I’ve been meaning to give it water for days,” I replied. Of course, I would only have time to really look at the bulb while I was sitting there nursing The Pickle, which is a totally inconvenient time to remember that something across the room needed some non-milk liquid, and then, by the time The Pickle was burped and ready to move on to something new, I’d completely forgotten about the poor bulb.
“I get it,” said The Unicorn, who was experiencing the same issue while sitting in the same chair when he gave The Pickle the occasional bottle.
Suffice it to say, the bulb’s existing sprouts were only slightly more pronounced by the time we hit Christmas, though the roots had started to push out of the rocks holding them in the little pottery container. The flower was nowhere to be seen.
“Does it need to be repotted?” asked The Unicorn.
“Probably,” I replied, but again, with a new-ish baby and 27 loads of laundry to do every week, repotting the hipster narcissus was very low on my list.
Luckily, The Pickle’s aunt came to our rescue. The Unicorn asked her to repot it while she was visiting, and she gamely looked up directions on Pinterest and set about moving it to a jar that would give the roots a little more space to roam. As soon as the roots had more room to spread out (and, to be fair, as soon as we got a little better about watering it), the plant took off.
The Pickle showed vague curiousity about the bulb’s shoots, probably more because they made an interesting upward pattern than any nascent interest in gardening.
The Unicorn noted that the shoots bore a resemblance to the aging onion we were inadvertently cultivating in the kitchen.
And finally, the flower bloomed. Of course, without a stake, we now have a narcisssus that’s growing sideways instead of straight up, but it’s beautiful, regardless, all tangled roots and spring-green leaves, with its brown-tunicked bulb and a tight umbrel of white blossoms.