Belated Christmas Present

“Belated Christmas Present”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

I think it was in early November. I succumbed once more to an amaryllis kit. I had said I would not buy any of these inexpensive bulbs because so often the flower does not turn out to be the one pictured on the box. Red ones instead of pink, orange instead of white. However, I just can’t seem to resist, so I purchased one that was labeled Minerva, an amaryllis I do not have.

In the past, I have waited until the beginning of December to plant these bulbs because I prefer to have the blooms after the holidays. Mid-January can seem rather bleak after all the Christmas decorations are put away, and why have an amaryllis blooming in December when there are so many holiday items competing with it for attention? This year I didn’t wait to plant the bulb since last year when I delayed the planting, the flower stalk on that year’s amaryllis was already up and never did develop.

So, in early November I planted my Minerva. It didn’t bloom in December. The bud showed but didn’t grow. It almost didn’t bloom in January. January is almost over and finally an open flower.

 

 

I figured this was late because I kept the bulb outside since our winter has been so mild. With the cooler than household temperature, that must have delayed the bulb from growing and flowering. I don’t mind the flower only showing up now because it certainly does cheer up the place since not too much is blooming right now. I never realized that it can be nice having a belated Christmas present from Mother Nature.

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A Perfect Perennial

“A Perfect Perennial”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

“The Metier of Blossoming” by Denise Livertov

Fully occupied with growing–that’s
the amaryllis…
If humans could be
that intensely whole, undistracted, unhurried,
swift from sheer
unswerving impetus! If we could blossom
out of ourselves, giving
nothing imperfect, withholding nothing!

One spring-blooming flower that is certainly excelling this year in the garden is the amaryllis or more accurately hippeastrum. One of the advantages of living in a mild climate is that I can grow these in the garden as well as having a potted one or two during the winter to brighten up the dark days of December.

Most of mine have been pass-alongs from generous gardeners like my sister, people I work with, or friends. Of course, I do buy some during the fall, pot them up for winter flowers, and then plant them outside in April. My oldest amaryllis are solid red ones.

 

 

The red and white ones are planted nearby. Both of these were from my sister’s garden.

 

 

 

A friend from work shared several of these lovely soft orange amaryllis.

 

 

Appleblossom is always a show stopper. The flowers are numerous and huge.

 

 

Finally, the white amaryllis, which is just about my favorite, is the last to bloom.

 

 

Unfortunately, the last two summers have been a fight with the grasshoppers who love amaryllis. Last year, in particular, these pests really chomped down on the amaryllis, and I am afraid many of my bulbs were unable to set flowers. (None of my pink ones bloomed this year.) While there have been many bloom this year, a great many bulbs did not produce flowers at all, and I am thinking the grasshoppers and their appetite is to blame. In the last week, I have discovered and quickly dispatched about thirty small grasshoppers in the garden. Every day now, I go “hunting” to try and stay ahead of these voracious insects. I want to make sure my amaryllis bulbs are protected so they can bloom next year as they normally would.

Big Flowers

“Big Flowers”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Spring is not my favorite time of the year. Autumn is my preferred season, but the garden does look its best in springtime. One of the reasons I think that that my garden looks so good at this time of year is the abundance of big flowers. Right now the big guys showing up are the amaryllis. In the last few posts I have featured the red, salmon, white, and Appleblossom amaryllises. Well, recently two more have opened to add to the show.

The first is an old-fashioned red that my sister gave me. While the flowers are a little smaller than the other more modern amaryllis, it still is a lovely flower.

 

 

The next one is a lovely pink amaryllis. When I bought this in the fall of 2009, it was labeled “Pink Diamond” and should have a white star center. As you can see, no white center in this one, but I don’t mind because I really wanted some pink amaryllis, and this one is so pretty. However, it is frustrating when things are mislabeled.

 

 

Small flowers that show up in abundance, azaleas, for instance, make a great showing, but having fewer large flowers also is good. The big guys really stand out on their own. After the amaryllis fade, the lilies take over. As a matter of fact, the first Triumphator lily opened yesterday. Looks like I will have a few more weeks of the big flowers making an appearance before summer’s smaller blooms take over the show.

Two More

“Two More”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Flowers seem to be just exploding out around here, and two more varieties have opened up. I’ve been out of town for the last four days, and I was so afraid I would miss some of the flowers that are just opening up.  Thank goodness, I didn’t.  While several plants had started blooming, the flowers were still in good shape when for me when I returned.

The white amaryllis are looking so good.  It took a few years for them to bloom after I planted them, and this year is the best blooming these lovely flowers have had yet. I have these planted with other white flowers (Iceberg roses and Marie Dolers, a white Louisiana iris).

 

 

Also blooming right now is the Appleblossom amaryllis.

 

 

Not all of the Appleblossom amaryllis have bloomed this year, and I am not sure why. Last year they all bloomed and made a gorgeous display. I guess even plants need some time off every now and then. Here’s hoping that next year will bring back the abundance of flowers from these amaryllis that I had last year.

I’ll have to post photos of the other flowers that started blooming while I was gone tomorrow because I am still tired from the trip and need to go to bed. I just had to get these two on the blog because I think they are my favorites, and I wanted to share them with you.

Big Blooms

“Big Blooms”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

I love this time of year!  After a cold, deary winter, to have warm, sunny days and flowers certainly makes for lifted spirits.

The amaryllis have started blooming.  Since I live in a mild climate, I am  able to grow these bulbs in the garden, and they normally bloom in late March, early April.  I usually buy a few around the holidays, but this year I didn’t and regretted that decision.  I missed having the flowers in mid-winter.  Luckily, I get a second chance at these flowers come spring time.

One of my favorites has just started blooming.  This is a true red, not an orange red which I do not find as attractive.

 

 

Another is a soft orange or salmon color.

 

 

Both of these amaryllis were given to me by friends who have now moved away. Every time I see these flowers, I always think of these two generous gardeners who shared a bit of their garden with me.

Right now, there are three varieties of amaryllis blooming in the garden (I posted about the earliest bloomers just a few days ago), and there are still a few more that should be blooming very soon. All these big, amaryllis blooms showing up now makes up for not having any during the dead of winter.

Last Ones

“Last Ones”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

There are only two varieties of amaryllis that are now blooming in my garden that I haven’t featured yet.  Here are the last ones.  The first is a soft orange-colored one that was given to me about three years ago.  Unfortunately, the giver did not know the name of this particular amaryllis.  I usually do not like orange flowers, but this one is special because it is not a bright orange.  The gardener who gave me these bulbs also gave me some seeds from her plants which germinated very well.  While I am not sure what flowers will come from these seeds, I now have many small bulbs which may bloom in another year or two.  I hope they are this soft color.  The photo below shows the flower a little darker than it is in person.  If you compare it to the red of the pineapple sage flowers below it, you will see it is more orange than red as it seems to appear.

soft-orange-amaryllis-redu

The last amaryllis to open its flowers is Elvas which I bought in early January of 2008.  I purchased three bulbs at an after Christmas sale when they were still in bloom.  In April of 2008, I planted them in the ground, and today, when I was checking out the garden, this is what greeted me.  The first Elvas bud had opened.  This is another double-flowering kind.

elvas-amaryllis-redu

While the Elvas and the white ones of Sunday’s post are just starting to bloom, and the orange ones still have many buds that have not opened, the other amaryllis are slowly fading away.  I hate to see these lovely, spring flowers disappear.  The amaryllis flowers have been especially lovely this year, and as these last ones finish blooming, I take comfort in knowing that there are other flowers waiting their turn to blossom.

Little Red

“Little Red”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

Two days ago, I wrote about the big red amaryllis flowers that are populating the entry garden.  They aren’t the only amaryllis in those beds that flank the front walkway.  I also have a few small red flowering amaryllis that my sister gave me several years ago.  While these flowers lean more toward an orange-red, I still like them because of their smaller flowers.

 

small-red-amaryllis-redu

 

I think that their smaller size indicates that this is an older variety since the newer ones have much bigger flowers.  My sister received the original bulbs from an elderly couple in her old neighborhood.  I bet that couple never imagined that their amaryllis bulbs would travel so far from their home.

 

sm-red-amaryllis-group-redu

 

The amaryllis season is starting to wind down here.  There are just two more for me to feature here from my garden, and one variety has not opened yet.  Even though these little red amaryllis do not have the huge, showstopping blooms of the other ones I have shown you, I still like them and am glad they are in my garden.

 

 

At Last, the White

“At Last, the White”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

When my father passed away in early 2006, I decided to dedicate an area of the garden to him.  I decided to plant that area with all white flowers.  That spring, I planted an Iceberg rosebush, paperwhite narcissus, and white impatiens.  Late that autumn, I ordered white amaryllis bulbs so there would be white flowers for the early spring.  In the spring of 2007, only one bloomed, and it had a very short stem.  I wasn’t too surprised, since I had planted these bulbs so late.  In the spring of 2008, however, I was disappointed that none of the twelve bulbs bloomed.  Most of the bulbs had produced a lot of foliage, and they should have bloomed.  I guess they needed one more year to settle in because, at last, the white ones are blooming.

 

This year, there are at least eight bulbs that have produced flowers.  Only one has opened yet, and I guess these bloom a little later than the others I have.  With the first flower opening up, I am not disappointed with these amaryllis.  The flowers are pure white with a green throat, and go well with the white violas and wax begonias that are blooming at their bases.

 

white-amaryllis-redu

 

Last year, I added two more Iceberg roses, and all of the Icebergs now have buds, with many opening any day now.  With more amaryllis flowers yet to open, the roses, and the violas, this area of the garden should soon be a special place to remember my dad.

Big Red

“Big Red”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

The last two posts have been about the amaryllis (hippeastrum) that I have growing in the garden.  Well, here is another.  In the last few years I have really become a big fan of these plants.  Originally, about ten years ago, I started with Red Lion bulbs that I bought in the winter and then planted in the garden in the spring.  I liked Red Lion, but was never enamored with them because the color had more of an orange tinge to the red, and I like more of a truer red.  I stopped buying them after just a few years.  Then, about four years ago, the secretary at work brought me some amaryllis bulbs from her garden.  These were huge, big bulbs that put out huge, big deep red flowers.  These big red amaryllis got me started on the road to amaryllis addiction.

 

red-amaryllis-redu

 

These amaryllis (name unknown) are wonderful.  It is hard sometimes to capture the true color of red with a digital camera.  These are a deep red, almost a deep cherry red.  These bulbs are very vigorous; even in my clay soil, they are producing offsets quickly.  It is not uncommon for there to be seven blooms on one stalk, and several bulbs have produced two or more stalks.  One thing I love about these is the shape of the buds as they just about to open.   The petals always seem to puff up and then open.  They remind me of hot air balloons.

 

red-amaryllis-bud-redu

 

 The lady who gave me these amaryllis was very generous.  I couldn’t believe she had so many to share, but she kept assuring me that she needed to thin out the bed they were in and she still had enough for her garden.  I even had some to share with my mother, daughter, and sister.  I am so thankful that I was able to get these wonderful, beautifully colored red flowers. 

 

amaryllis-in-entry-redu

 

I have these in the gardens on both sides of the front walk.  The big red flowers make a welcoming sight as you approach the front door.  I am going to hate when they finish blooming.

I’ll Have a Double

“I’ll Have a Double”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

In checking my garden journal from previous years, it seems that many plants are blooming a month to six weeks earlier than last year.  Some of these early bloomers are the amaryllis (hippeastrum) bulbs.  I showcased Apple Blossom yesterday, and today I’ll feature a double flowered one.

I bought this one years ago, maybe six years or so.  I didn’t have many amaryllis then, and this was supposed to be a pink variety.   Of course, it was mismarked, as seems to be my luck, but it was huge when it bloomed.  It is a double flowering one, and from photos I have searched, it seems that this just might be Aphrodite.

 

double-amaryliss-redu

 

At first, I was very disappointed in this particular bulb, but it has grown on me and now is welcomed in the garden.  I particularly like the green throat this flower has.  The bulb has not made any off sets yet, even after all these years, but the bulb is gigantic and the flowers are still big.

 

double-amaryliss-clsp-redu

 

The nine inch blooms certainly stand out even when all the other spring flowers are opening up and showing their new colors.  After growing this bulb for years, I would like to have even more double amaryllis.  I guess this means I need to look into finding a good company that stocks double amaryllis.

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