Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Desperately Seeking Susan

Some things are just not meant to be.

Three years ago, I ordered an amaryllis bulb called 'Susan.' It was to be a lovely clear pink and I looked forward to seeing it bloom. The bulb almost immediately shot up a flower stalk and I began to get excited. I saw hints of pink as the buds began to form and then open. Finally, there she was, in all her glory.

Sort of.

She was big and she was pink. But something was wrong. She looked as if she'd gotten caught in the rain without an umbrella and her blush got smudged. What happened here?

It turns out 'Susan' was sick with some sort of virus. I was disappointed, but I let her go on and do her thing. I planted her outside the following summer and planned to let her bloom again the following year, hoping she'd get rid of the virus somehow, even though I knew that wasn't likely. I still have the bulb, and while she puts out foliage, she has never again bloomed.

A few weeks ago, while shopping at Meijer with daughter Jenna, I came across some boxed Amaryllis bulbs. It's common to find them in the Big Box Stores at this time of year and at a reasonable price, too. Sometimes I pick one up, if the bulbs looks healthy and they're decent-sized. You can usually peek into the box to check them.

Meijer had many varieties and one of them was 'Susan'! I checked the bulbs and they were nicer than I expected in size and appearance and the price was unbeatable at $3.99. I bought one and went home looking forward once again to having a beautiful 'Susan' among my collection of Amaryllis bulbs.

The bulb had just a hint of green poking its way out of the top of the bulb when I planted it and over the next few weeks, it grew tall and the day of its debut arrived. I saw hints of color as it slowly opened...wider...wider...until finally there she was....




Ewa said...

ow yes, the unsolved question is : who is Susan?
which of them?
hugs from over the ocean :)

Anonymous said...

Would the real Susan please stand up? :) Actually, they're both beautiful, even if they are Gertrudes and Bernices.

Kylee Baumle said...

Ewa ~ The first one is 'Susan', but she is all splotchy with a virus. The red one is ... I don't know ... but it isn't 'Susan'! It's pretty though.

*Hugs* to you, too! :-)

Nancy ~ LOL. The first one is 'Susan', albeit an unhealthy one. what to call the red one? I'm leaning towards Bernice... ;-)

Zoë said...

I had something similiar happen last year, I planted a large containet with several very large amaryllis white bulbs, or so I thought.... turns out they are all white, except one, which was pink.... perhaps that was Susan?

I do wish growers would be more careful in the labelling, the bulbs were expensive at £7.99, and the display was spoiled because of mislabelling.

Hope you find Susan soon!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kylee, what a disappointment.

Carol Michel said...

I wonder if that virus could spread to some of your other amaryllis? I'd be tempted to give ol' Susan the boot!

I would name the new one Suzanne or something like that.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Gail said...

Kylee, Those big box stores and their mislabeled plants! But what ever her name is, she's pretty. How about Candy Apple? gail

flydragon said...

So I guess Susan can either be sickly or color blind. You happened to get both:)

Unknown said...

I think that last one is very pretty, maybe not what you had in mind, it looks very nice on your table!

Kylee Baumle said...

Zoë ~ Hey! Maybe it WAS 'Susan'! I agree - there are way too many labeling mistakes out there. How hard can it be to put the right label on something? I can understand an occasional error, but it happens a LOT.
Maybe the third time will be a charm where 'Susan' is concerned. LOL.

Lisa ~ Yes, I couldn't believe it when I saw that orangey-red emerging.

Carol ~ I thought of that, Carol, and when I store the bulb and also when I plant it in the ground outside, I keep it well away from the other bulbs. I can't bring myself to throw it out, because it's a living thing, you know? Yes, I'm one of those that won't throw out a plant if it's got even a hint of green on it, either. LOL.

Gail ~ I know those stores are notorious for mislabeled plants and bulbs. Their suppliers are really the ones to blame and then the Big Box Stores for still buying from them.
I love 'Candy Apple' as a name, but it's really too orangey for that one. It's pretty though!

flydragon ~ LOL, you're right! I wonder what surprises await me with the next attempt?

Darla ~ I like it, too, Darla. Is there really an ugly Amaryllis?

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

OH NO! You poor thing. Not once, but TWICE! That has to be exasperating as all get out!


Connie said...

I can understand your disappointment, as that has happened to me several times with tulip bulbs...being the wrong color. That is a pretty far cry from pink, though it is festive for the holidays. :-) a

Jan said...

Oops! That is frustrating! It's disappointing when you spend your money on something you didn't ask for:) (But the red one is kind of pretty!) Jan

Rose said...

Your title drew me in, Kylee:) Your new amaryllis may be an imposter, but she's lovely all the same.

Katie said...

Doh! Mislabeled plants and bulbs are such an annoyance. But you have an Amaryllis blooming in your house; I am jealous. My cats would eat mine!

PS - I LOVE your header and background.

Unknown said...

Oh, how about Scarlett? A good name for a Susan wanna be, don't you think? She is pretty though. I wonder if there's any remedy for Susan's virus. There has to be something out there....

Kylee Baumle said...

Cindy ~ Yes, I was disappointed, but since the amaryllis is my favorite flower, I still like it. :-)

Connie ~ Yes, very Christmas-like, so it's okay, I guess. I hope it doesn't happen with my Lowe's tulip bulbs I planted this fall. I was so excited to find them - I can't remember the name of them at the moment, but they're a deep pink on a medium pink - a new variety.

Jan ~ I agree. It's always disappointing when you don't get what you paid for, but it didn't cost much, so oh well. I probably could go back to Meijer and get another one and try again, but I don't get there all that often.

Rose ~ I kind of thought that title might attract a few visitors. ;-) I always try to make the title a little unusual or quirky, if possible. I enjoy it when others do the same, even to the point that it takes some thinking to get the connection.
Yes, Little Miss Red is pretty.

Katie ~ Annoying is the perfect word. And amaryllis seem to be victims of this more than most plants or bulbs. I even wondered when I bought it if it would really be what it said it was.
For some reason, the cats don't bother much here. It's a good thing, with 175+ houseplants! They have a couple that they try to munch on, even though they know I don't want them to. The Sanseveria, a small palm, and a yucca-like plant that I can never remember the name of. Anything that's grass-like has to be put out of their reach, too. But everything else seems to be safe!
I don't know if you noticed the attribution at the bottom of the page for that artwork. It's a Charley Harper. If you aren't familiar with his work, check it out! I just love it.

Cinj ~ Scarlett would work, too! I've wondered about a cure for that virus as well. I keep thinking it will just disappear, like human viruses do. LOL. It's never bloomed since that splotchy one, which may be due to the virus. Maybe this year, it will. I hope so, and I hope it's clear.

Dana S. Whitney said...

Perhaps you can instigate a Tulip like Amaryllis-mania with viral surprises in the bulbs! I am still drooling over the Wayside Gardens catalog that arrived Wednesday...

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