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My daughter gave me this amaryllis a year ago at Christmas. My sister enjoyed the blooms since I was sick and couldn’t get to her house where our family Christmas is held. So once I received the bulb I grew it in the vegetable garden, pulled it out in the middle of October and put it in a cool spot to rest. I pulled it out in January and here is the bloom in March. Thank you, Karen! This is the first of four blooms on the stem, so I have some more flowers to enjoy. The red flowers seem to be sparkled with glitter. It is gorgeous!

Once the blooms have faded, I’ll cut them off at the base of the bloom. The stem holds chlorophyll so will give the bulb some extra nutrition.

Red Amaryllis

Red Amaryllis Bloom

After a very long, bleak winter, this fiery bloom lightens my spirit. I’m going to replant it this spring once the frost date is past. After ten days on the porch for the leaves to acclimate to stronger light, I will take it out of the pot and grow it directly in the soil. Because it will already have a strong leaf system in place this year, the bulb should grow even larger. I plan to see it is better fertilized and watered this summer, too. If I want to try and have it bloom at Christmas, I’ll have to repot it and put it into its rest period by mid August. It needs to be kept for about eight to ten weeks in a dry and cool state of relative darkness. September really works better to start the rest period, and October after the first frost seems to be best. I’ll have to wait and see how well it has grown by August and decide then. I don’t mind seeing the bloom in March. The U.S. National Arboretum says this process can be repeated indefinitely. I’ve had amaryllis before, but after a few years they didn’t grow well; however, this could have been me not giving them enough attention.


Snowdrops in bloom

Snowdrops in bloom

At this time of year I always keep watch for my Snowdrops, to bloom. Last year the first one bloomed on March 15th. That didn’t happen this year. I’m still waiting for them to show. This is actually far later than for most of the country because these harbingers of spring often bloom in February in more southerly places. Snowdrops botanical name, Galanthus, means milk flower in Greek, and the Common Snowdrop hardy to my area is G. nivalis, or covered in snow, so when my snow covered white flower emerges, icy fakes often do hang off them. The green markings on the inner flower add a bit of fay color to the otherwise all white, dainty flowers.

The plants are native to most of Europe from the south to the far north, but have spread widely around the world. This means the plants are very adaptable. While they like moist but well-drained soil in part shade, they survive in clay and can withstand full sun. They even grow under walnut trees which tend to poison the soil surrounding their trunk with juglone. Snowdrops are ephemeral, meaning the foliage sticks around long enough to build the bulb’s strength and then dies back before summer’s heat. While the little flowers give every snow-dejected spirit joy and hope, these are small, nearly insignificant flowers. Massive plantings are best for gardens, say at least twenty-five, but a hundred or more is better yet.

Most gardeners aren’t aware the bulbs are very poisonous, containing the alkaloids lycorine and galantamine. Lycorine is found in Amaryllidaceae family, that causes gastro intestinal distress. Galantamine on the other hand, has medical use in the treatment of mild Alzheimer’s. The bulbs also contain the glycoside scillaine, or scillitoxin, which affects the heart. So I guess the moral is beauty and hope come at a high price. No wonder deer don’t like them.

Update: 3/25 snow melted enough (not entirely gone!) to show my snowdrops blooming. Spring is here!



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