Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Popping spring into a Minnesota winter February 1, 2022

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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A hyacinth blooms inside my Minnesota home in January. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

IN THE DEPTHS of a Minnesota winter, when snow layers the landscape and cold settles into my bones, I long for spring. I yearn for color, for warmth, for stepping outdoors without first donning, boots, winter coat, scarf, hat and mittens.

In a mini vase, set on a windowsill, greenery emerges. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

In that mind frame, I recently purchased a hyacinth bulb at Aldi. It was in the non-food aisle of oddities—those items you don’t necessarily need but may buy on impulse. But I did need this. I needed a visual pop of spring, of color, in my home.

In the warmth and sunlight, roots spread inside the vase. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

A year ago I bought a hyacinth bulb in a mini vase at Aldi, too, but for my son who at the time lived in Madison, Wisconsin. He struggles with the cold, with winter in general. So, for a few bucks, I jolted color into his apartment. He’s now living in Indiana, some eight-plus hours away, thus no hyacinth this winter.

Beauty even in the green of tight buds. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

Instead, I would delight in this spring flower associated with the Greek god Apollo. I chose a pink hyacinth this year rather than the blue gifted to Caleb. My granddaughter loves pink and I was hoping to give the spring flower to her. But then my mom died and Izzy was sick (not COVID) and time got away and I haven’t seen the grandkids since early January.

Set against a snowy backdrop, the hyacinth blooms inside my home. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

It was meant to be—for me to tend this bulb with buds clamped, then lengthening and unfurling into two beautiful blossom branches.

In the morning sunlight, the bulb sprouts roots, then greenery, then flowers. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

Each morning I moved the vase to the east-facing front picture window, into the morning light. I delighted in white roots expanding in the water-filled vase. I topped the water as instructed. I watched the greenery grow remarkably fast…until the first flowers bloomed. Lovely pink. And a fragrance equally lovely in intensity.

Hyacinth silhouette against the snow outside the picture window. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

Then the bulb tipped in the vase at the weight of the blooming stem. I leaned the heavy bloom against the window, propping it into balance.

A beautiful second blossom followed the first. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

Soon a second shoot shot to the side. More flowers. Flowers set against a backdrop of snow. A symbol of spring in the depths of a cold Minnesota winter.


TELL ME: Have you grown a spring bulb inside your home in winter? I’d like to hear what and why.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


17 Responses to “Popping spring into a Minnesota winter”

  1. beth Says:

    that’s a perfect way to feel a bit of spring! i’ve never grown one from a bulb inside, but i do buy small pots of daffodils and tulips to put inside, and just saw some today at trader joe’s. i recently wrote about that aisle where you bought your beautiful bulb, (the aisle of shame, as it’s nicknamed), at aldi’s, where all kinds of interesting things are waiting to be found. i love it.

  2. Perfect for a cold wintry day. I bought some flowers for myself the other day for exactly the same reason.

  3. I know this may sound cheesy but it is like the flower is ready for a hug with blooming out both sides 🙂 We recently harvested not 1, not 2, but 3 big bunches of bananas from our inherited banana forest with this house. Also, have two loquat trees that are blooming and will be a riot of orange with fruit galore. Our baby lime tree is blooming too. Then we will have a riot of red in the front of the house with the Bottle Brush tree – that is so breathtaking when fully blooms. I need to see when the Magnolias bloom – can never remember. Here’s to a Pop of Color to Make Our Souls Sing and Put a Smile on Our Faces!!! Happy Day – Enjoy

    • I like that thought of a big hug from the hyacinth. Cheesy or not.

      I would love to stand in your yard right now, taking in the beauty of those flowering trees. Oh, how lovely the sight. I can visualize this from your words. Thanks for bringing a view of Florida to Minnesota this morning. Love. Enjoy those bananas and soon-to-be limes.

  4. Ooh that’s a very pretty flower! I’m sure it brought some cheer into your home.

  5. Valerie Says:

    Good idea for a bit of color this time of year…and the sweet smell. I used to grow paper whites indoors in January for the same reason…just put the bulb in water and let it bloom.

  6. Oh what a wonderful Spring feel!
    The daffodils are starting to bloom here in The Netherlands and I was thinking I needed to get my yearly bloom photo posted. So nice to see this against the snow backdrop.

  7. Judith A Karlson Says:

    Hello Audrey….I don’t have a comment about your lovely spring bulbs but I do want to let you know I am intrigued by your article in the March ’22 Southern MN SCENE about Hope, MN. I would like to know more about the town, venture there and see more. But…I cannot find any mention of shop hours or phone numbers to call on Google. Can you tell me more about the antique shop (always open on Fri-Sat?), the creamery…when open? etc. I will be coming from Northfield so want to be there when shops are open. Thanks so much!

    • Judith, I went online and found the following info on the Hopefull Treasures Facebook page: Open from noon to 6 pm on Friday and from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturdays. Phone: 507-451-1288. I would definitely call in advance of driving to Hope. As far as Hope Creamery, I found this phone number on their website: 507-684-2019. I hope that helps. The farm/convenience store on the south end of town also has gifts, according to info I found online. I have not been inside, but it may be worth your stop. I expect the historic school is open only occasionally during the warm weather season.

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