The new amaryllis are coming into bloom and between them and mommy’s valentine’s day roses things are looking very festive around here. I don’t mind one bit but it’s surprising to me that the dirty flower pots at the end of the table are being tolerated as well as they are. Usually non-edible growing things are frowned upon in the dining area.
During a weak moment this winter I came across a clearance sale for amaryllis (hippeastrum) and decided to treat myself. Treating yourself is always a good idea in December and soon enough a few new amaryllis were sitting at my door. Since I was already buying cheap bulbs of a flower which I really don’t need, I decided to try something new and picked a few doubles and miniatures. So far so good!
All the amaryllis were planted in nice new terracotta pots which I’m ashamed to say required more time and effort to find than any of the actual bulbs. Apparently clay pots are not filling the shelves during the holiday shopping season…. or at least not filling the shelves at the first three places I tried… but persistence paid off. Hopefully the bulbs will appreciate my struggle.
As the bulbs settle in and sprout there are more things coming into bloom in the garage. I’m especially pleased to announce the opening of my little auricula primrose. The color is a mustardy yellow which although very ‘refined’, wouldn’t be my first choice for a show stopping color. I love it though and am looking forward to seeing a few more blooms opening over the next few days… and hopefully having the flower stem straighten out to get rid of some of the ‘nod’ it has!
Outside is a different story, and it’s a mix of hope and optimism as well as worry. We had enough warmth earlier in the winter to bring on a bunch of stuff way ahead of schedule, and some of those things paid a price for their eagerness when the bottom fell out of the thermometer. The hellebores in particular are looking sad.
Also sad are a few of the daffodils. Early risers such as anything with tazetta or jonquil blood (two of the many daffodil species crossed for the hybrids we have today) were mushed back to the ground. Some will die, but most will carry on and just have browned tips to their leaves when the blooms come up.
The bad news is that after a few spring-like days we and the rest of the East coast are having some of the coldest nights of the winter. I would feel much better if a nice blanket of snow covered up last weekend’s early bloomers but just a dusting of snow accompanied the cold snap. For now ignorance is bliss and I’ll again enjoy last week’s signs of spring as we slowly warm up from a blustery low of -8F (-22C) last weekend.
I should know later this week if there is any damage to my snowdrop treasures. I remain optimistic, but sadly enough in years past I have had it that drops have died from a late season arctic blast, and these bloom are far along, and this cold snap is severe. But what can you do? Wendy and Gerard got a box over them but I’m not ready to go all over the yard covering things for each cold snap. These bulbs will have to show their true colors.
Wish my bulbs luck. If they do survive I will never underestimate the hardiness of some of these earliest bloomers.
As a backup plan I’ll start a few more seeds this week. Empty ground is always a good reason for new plants, and if worse comes to worse there are always annuals 🙂