Friday, December 9, 2011

Amaryllis Season Has Begun!

When winter comes, and the outside garden is fast asleep, it's time to grab color inside where you can find it. The winters are long and cold here in Ohio and each year I think I can't bear another one. I look for ways to lift my spirits, which can become as gray as the skies. I'm here to tell you that SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a very real thing.

Hippeastrum papilio
Almost as soon as I fell in love with gardening, I thankfully discovered amaryllis (Hippeastrum sp.). It was the butterfly amaryllis (Hippeastrum papilio) that drew me in, with its burgundy striping and indeed, petals that resemble butterfly wings.

Once the world of amaryllis was opened up to me, their siren song was strong and clear, and soon I had a collection. The bulbs were more pricey then (2005-2006) than they are now, although some companies still maintain what I consider to be prices higher than they should be. They may argue quality of bulbs as explanation and in some cases, it may be true, but I've always been able to find large, healthy bulbs in just about any cultivar that catches my eye, at a reasonable cost.

I keep my amaryllis bulbs from year to year, growing them outside in the summer and bringing them in for their resting period when frost comes. After six to eight weeks, I bring them up out of the basement, pot them up if they aren't already in pots. I water them a little bit and they're off and running, bringing my home that longed for color and me the joy of living with them.


Amaryllis blooms bring a fifth season to Our Little Acre and as of today, it's officially begun. The first 'Zombie' has opened and there are more on the way. More 'Zombie' and 'Blooming Bells' and 'Cherry Crush'. 'Dancing Queen' and my favorite, 'Blossom Peacock'. 'Rembrandt van Rijn' and 'Solomon' and 'Rilona'. 'Lemon-Lime' and 'White Peacock'. 'Benfica' and ... you get the picture. What a pretty picture it is - all winter long.

And sometimes, one will surprise me in summer, too.
'Blossom Peacock'


Kaveh said...

SAD is one of the reasons I moved to a part of the country where you can grow Amaryllis in the ground in your yard!

Helen said...

These are lovely, Kylee. You can never have too many amaryllis!

Kylee Baumle said...

Kaveh ~ That's understandable! However, I do like living in Ohio. I love the Midwest, my family is here, and I love the changing of the seasons. I just wish winter didn't last quite so long! The miracle of spring bulbs bursting forth from the earth, sometimes even through the snow gives me a thrill that I get to experience every year. Things like snowdrops, crocus, tulips and the like are such a delight. And the peonies! These are things that grow as easily here as dandelions. But I'll always whine about winter when it gets to be about February. Enough is enough. LOL.

Helen ~ I agree, which is why I buy a few new ones every year! :-)

Lona said...

Your amaryllis is a beauty Kylee. I have my fingers crossed that my hold over will bloom this winter. So you keep some of your in pots? I did not know whether after they spent the summer outdoors and were taken into my dark basement whether I should have taken bulbs out of the pots and then repotted them or not. I kept mine all in their pots. I hope they bloom???

Kylee Baumle said...

Lona ~ Yes, I do keep some of them in pots, but I don't water them during the resting period. I'll occasionally repot them, but it depends on how they look. I can say in all the years I've been keeping the bulbs, that I've never had one refuse to bloom in a year's time, so I'm going to say that yours probably will too!

Terra said...

You have a great Amaryllis collection; they do lift my spirits too, even here in California. My new bulb this year is Razzle Dazzle and it is almost ready to bloom and will be red and white.

Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

What beautiful plants. I have only grown Iris before, being mostly a vegetable grower, but may have to consider these now.

Carolyn ♥ said...

Lovely blooms... I can see how they might
bring Winter cheer.

Kylee Baumle said...

Terra ~ I've seen photos of 'Razzle Dazzle' and it's beautiful! But I've really never met an amaryllis I didn't like. :-)

Stephanie ~ You really should try them. They're easy and unbelievably beautiful!

Carolyn ~ Absolutely, they do! :-)

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