by Rondi Hillstrom Davis and Janell Sewall Oakes
Together: Creating Family Traditions
This month, our theme is Think Green. Spring is just around the corner. Even though there is still snow on the ground in many parts of the country, here in the South our daffodils have already begun to bloom. You too, can enjoy a little bit of spring indoors. Use your green thumb to try planting some seeds in a terrarium or forcing some bulbs.
Did you know that the shamrock, or three-leafed clover, is a sacred plant in Ireland because it symbolizes the rebirth of spring? Check your local nurseries. Many will carry shamrocks on or around St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th.
Speaking of St. Patrick’s Day, children love fables of leprechauns. In Celtic folktales, ornery leprechauns were notorious for the tricks they used to protect their pots of gold. Here, we’ve included our own concoction, fit for any leprechaun.
Project: Forcing Spring Bulbs
Bring a bit of Nature indoors. You can force hyacinth, paper whites, crocus, and tulip bulbs to bloom by placing them in a shallow bowl filled with gravel.
1. Bury the bottom half of the bulb in the gravel.
2. Add just enough water to cover the stones.
3. Place the bowl in a cool dark place for three weeks.
4. When green shoots emerge, move the bowl to a sunny window. Soon fragrant blooms will appear.
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- 2 cups water
- 1 cup sugar
- 10-20 mint leaves
- 1/2 cup lime juice (3-5 limes)
- 4 cups cold water
- 1 drop green food coloring
- 1. Combine the first 3 ingredients. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (This can be done on the stovetop or in the microwave).
2. Remove from heat. Once the mixture has cooled, remove the mint leaves from the sugar syrup.
3. In a 2-quart pitcher, combine the syrup, lime juice, and 4 cups of cold water. Add food coloring, if desired. Serve over ice. Just for fun, garnish with shamrocks.