Sunday, January 22, 2023

Amaryllis - January's Best Blossoms

The view from my window. The view from up here.

 * lilting holiday music * Oh, the weather outside is frightful.. Normal

For the first time, in 7 years, we are experiencing an absolutely delightful, normal, cold, snowy, winter. 

And I gotta tell ya.. it is bringing me back to life. This break in the severe drought began long before the snows arrived. Utah experienced a monsoon season this summer! Albeit short, but who cares? It's a positive. Good news is hard to come by, these days. 

This is a $10 dollar flower bulb, purchased from Home Depot.

Indoors - everything is also normal. Well. As normal as it can be around here. When you live in a ski resort, experiencing the "Best Ever!" snow and your tiny mountain town has blossomed with an extra 80,000 people who showed up to ski. 

Never mind the fact that they don't know how to ski. This is instagram-able! So they booked a flight.

This variegated Amaryllis is one of my favorites. Another $10 bulb from HD.

I'm sure you've seen them. The boxes and boxes of Amaryllis bulbs adorning the shelves of the [aptly named] big box stores around the holidays. 

Like most fabulous blossoms, they do not care that you prefer instant gratification.

However! They are most definitely worth the wait. [Approximately 6 weeks after planting day.]

I saved this Amaryllis bulb. She was growing in a box in the store when I found her.

They are the most impressive bulbs. 

Amaryllis are so eager to bloom, they often grow, and blossom, without sunlight, soil or water. 

You've probably seen that, too. After the holidays, when the bulbs who weren't purchased are still sitting in the dark boxes, inside the store. Oftentimes you'll see a tall stem, with a large flower bud on top the stem, forcing her way out of the cardboard container.

Like this gal!  👇  I saved her. The minute I gave her a sunny window + a desperately needed drink of water... she decided to become a tree:

Pay no attention to that can of dog food next to this pretty flower. 

The cost of these stunningly beautiful houseplants - each flower is twice the size of my hand - is about $10 bucks.*

So if you see one struggling this time of year - Save Her! You'll be glad you did. And so will she.

Amaryllis petals sparkle in the sunlight.

If that sales pitch is not enough incentive for you to save a struggling bulb, here's one more. 

In the sunlight the petals sparkle - as if covered in fairy dust.

The beautiful view on my {filthy} kitchen counter.

* If you are already an Amaryllis aficionado, then you probably know that nursery grade bulbs produce even bigger flowers. Therefore they are considerably more expensive. American Meadows is a great resource for them. And, no, they did not pay me to say that. Every Christmas, a gardening friend of mine gifts me with one of their bulbs. Thanks, Hazel! My premium bulb hasn't bloomed. Yet.

Happy January Gardeners! Let's make it a pretty one.

Amaryllis bulbs will re-bloom. (Though they rarely bloom as prolifically as they did the first time.) I'm far too lazy to do this but here's how: Set your bulb flower pot in a shady spot in your garden. Leave her out there, all summer, until after the first light freeze. Snip the greenery. Store in a cool, dark box, or closet, for 6 weeks. Then bring her out, give her a sip of water and watch her do her stuff. (Probably 10 weeks to bloom time.)

Sunday, January 01, 2023

Let's Brighten Things Up

Yes I grow Lantana indoors. Why should Arizona gardeners have all the fun?

* cough, cough, splutter, splutter * 

Dusting off the old blog, haven't visited for quite some time. Clearly suffering from neglect. I realize the blog is online - relieved to see it's still here! But reality is for those who lack imagination.

To me - the blog feels like it's an old library.  

Maybe this one. ↓  No, not this one. Too Downton Abby.

Maybe this one? ↓

No, that's been done.

How about this one? ↓

Yeah, yeah, ↑ that's it!

Revisiting this little blog of mine. Which is not little. Been writing in it for 16 flower-filled years. Albeit sporadically of late...

In my head, the blog feels like a Sherlock Holmes kind of old English library. Filled with dusty books. And terrific ideas. Coupled with all kinds of bad ideas. Because. Well. You know... sometimes those truly fantastic ideas of ours don't exactly turn out the way we want them to.

Kalanchoe in the kitchen window

Whatever the case, visiting the blog always inspires a fine trip down memory lane. Revisiting the years when I was happy. 

I’m not unhappy right now. Truth be told, one must work extra hard to make me unhappy. 

However! I should give credit where credit is due. A nod to the foot soldiers working diligently to ruin most of last year. Succeeding in their attempts to drive me crazy and make me sad. 2022 was a ghastly year. < See? I even sound like Sherlock Holmes.

This is a naturally turning red Poinsettia. Have owned her for 4 years
And she NEVER turns red in time for Christmas. :)

Does anyone but me feel like we need to work extra hard to remain happy these days?

Work hard. Or remain oblivious. Avoiding the news at all costs. Constantly taking a deep breath while some person around us, oftentimes a total stranger, is throwing a temper tantrum?

'Christmas' Cactus started blooming in October. Still going strong.

It’s infectious, you know. Bad moods. Bad attitudes. 

But this is a New Year. 

And this  ↓↓↓ is why I’m here: Grey. 

To me, the prevalence of Grey in our choices during 2022 [the top 10 paint choices were various shades of grey] speaks volumes as to how we feel. Which is not good. And certainly not calm.

I personally think we need a whole lot more color in our lives. 

Whatever happened to sunny yellow?

Every windowsill needs at least one Orchid

When did we stop loving Outrageous Orange?

Hibiscus happily blooms indoors.

Be honest. Wouldn't your morning coffee be more fun if you were surrounded Hot Cha Cha Pink?

Christmas Cactus can live for a 100 years! I can attest to that!
Have owned this pretty girl since my college days!

Happiness is what I was thinking about, last night, while standing in the garden. 

Bundled in my winter coat. Wildflowers soundly sleeping beneath mountains of snow. At 1 a.m. (?!?) I’m old, now. FYI - I’m as surprised as you are. That I not only welcomed in the New Year. That I did so outside. In the snow! In freezing temperatures! And that I did NOT do that at 10 p.m. – as I would normally do. Because I don’t typically care when the balls drop. Or where it drops. 

What I do care about it is The Truth of The Matter: Color makes people happy. Flowers make people happy. FYI - Grey is also a popular color choice when painting prison cells. 

So let's brighten things up! If you don't have a sunny window, get yourself a grow light. You'd be surprised how many pretty flowers you can grow indoors. And. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Is guaranteed to make you smile.

Happy New Year, Gardeners. Let's make it a colorful one.