Bulb Fever

amaryllis2

Last year I was seduced by the above amaryllis, here slightly stylized, and raptly handed over $40 to enable myself to share my Christmas with this beauty. This year, recalling wistfully the joy of the presence of such beauty, I made up my mind to take the practical road, utilizing the container I’d purchased last year. It was easy (and inexpensive) to find Red Lion amaryllis bulbs at Home Depot’s nursery, so I brought home two and after pondering how to proceed made the following choices, which I’m already enjoying.

Into last year’s container I placed a multitude of green glass stones. There are so many color choices, but I chose green to fit into the next two holiday seasons. I gently placed one of the amaryllis bulbs into the top part of the container and then very carefully poured enough water into the container to immerse the roots, but not so much that the bulb would be under water, as that (I learned the hard way) will rot the bulb. I recalled the simple green French ribbon that had adorned my package last year, and chose for now a sheer purple one, complimenting the green stones very nicely.
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Within two days of assembling this the leaves began to shoot up markedly. I’m certain by Thanksgiving I will have buds and at Christmas I will have the full splendor on display. Brilliant!

Then I had to make a different choice for the second bulb, so I opted to put it in soil into a container from some long past Thanksgiving, which I placed on a complimentary silver plate onto which I’d placed green and clear ocean-washed broken glass. Lovely.
amaryllis3

This bulb is taking to this arrangement very nicely and I might well have a flower for Thanksgiving. I’m thinking so, aren’t you?

Once I’d accomplished these two creations I turned my attention to paperwhites! Hard to imagine but I’d never really quite learned how to manage bulbs. I think I’ve always been mystified or puzzled by them, not quite sure what to do. I think this is particularly reinforced by buying them all assembled, then at season’s end putting them outside and hoping for the best. Yes, that would do it, wouldn’t it? So this year I’m taking charge, as you can see. Encouraged by what looks like a good beginning for the amaryllis, I found what I thought would be a good container for the paperwhites–essentially a large open clear glass candle holder. And then indulged in the purchase of a large number of marbles, which was quite thrilling as I adore marbles and had never ever purchased so many at once. Indeed, I think I was still holding the child’s view that marbles are something you win.
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Does this not speak of promise? Now here’s what I did inside, just in case you are like I was, and need a bit of instruction.
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I put a layer of marbles on the bottom of the candle holder. And then I put six bulbs around the edge, pointy end up, of course, and slightly leaning towards center. I used marbles to reinforce this positioning. Then when they were all in place I filled up the spaces in between with the balance of my marbles. When I felt they were all securely in place I added enough water to again wet the bottoms of the bulbs, but not so much to endanger their substance. Isn’t this exciting? It’s so fun to now watch them grow into lovely open white flowers which will fill the room with their sweet fragrance. I think this is particularly a good practice if you have children about, as they will witness one of life’s grandest miracles during this special time of year. I hope you will be inspired to experiment with different containers and mediums and bulbs to bring more life and cheer into your homes this winter. Enjoy, my dear readers.
paperwhites
Love and flower blessings,
Kathryn xoxo

November footnote! The planted amaryllis opened just in time for Thanksgiving!
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8 Responses to “Bulb Fever”

  1. Hi Kathryn!
    What a great idea! This is one of those things that is in the back of my mind, but I had forgotten about. With the days getting shorter, bringing a living plant into the house will be such a treat. One could buy an amaryllis already prepared, but I like the idea of doing this myself and watching the process. I have the container already, a square glass vase. I was thinking about marbles, and then I remembered I have a collection of recycled blue glass in a saucer right on the back deck! I had purchased this on impulse a few months ago intending to do something creative with it. Now I have a way to use it. Wow! How about that! I am pretty sure my local plant nursery will have an amaryllis bulb. When I get this assembled I will send you an image!
    Thanks for sharing the fun!
    :)

  2. Good morning, Philip! Yes, a square glass vase will be perfect! And how handy and inspiring that you already have a collection of recycled blue glass! I doubt you will have trouble locating an amaryllis bulb or two. I paid about five dollars for each bulb. And please do send me the image and I will post in the new Reader’s Corner! Looking forward to seeing your creation! Enjoy! Kathryn xoxo

  3. Hello Kathryn, Bulb fever ha…it’s a great fever I get if each year too, I have got it yet but I can feel it coming…especially now after reading your lovely post.

  4. Hi, Tyra! I was thinking of you today! Really! Must be the bulbs! I am imagining that being in Scandinavia you will be very familiar with the in’s and out’s of bulb planting! Please do a post when you start your bulbs this season, will you? I need all the coaching I can get! Thanks! Kathryn xoxo

  5. To Kathryn and all:
    Hope this post works…If you are buying bulbs from a garden store, check to make certain that they are completely free of mealy bugs. Sue and I had been nursing through our amaryllis bulbs for several years and getting good repeat blooms when we went wild several years ago and bought a bunch. Several of the bulbs turned out to have mealy bugs which took out those bulbs that first year but somehow they spread into all our pots and by the next year, they were all dead. We did, however, cross pollinate and save seeds. I think we are going to try to raise them again from seed. It’s supposed to take an additional year or two. It’s an experiment. I’ll let you all know if it works.
    Cheers, Julie

  6. Hi, Julie, Thanks for the timely heads up on mealy bugs! Googled this and, sure enough, ended up at Carol’s May Dream Gardens who has been quite vociferous about her mealy bug problem for years, and (gasp) she does, indeed, talk about their attacking her amaryllis plants at Christmastime. See here:
    http://tinyurl.com/ylfzc2f Apparently they weren’t introduced by her amaryllis bulbs, but they sure did LIKE them. Yikes! OK, bug alert. We need to be mindful that our amaryllis bulbs are pest free! Thanks again for letting us know! And amaryllis by seed? Only you, Julie. Let us know! Hugs! Kathryn xoxo

  7. Hi, Kathryn, I love your wonderful web site. I enjoyed your post on the amaryllis bulb. This is something I would like to try. Really, I am very new to the world of blogging, and now I am surfing the web all goggle-eyed. I just started my own garden blog last month, so your site has been an inspiration. There is so much there – I am enjoying your archives and am looking forward to your new posts. Thanks! Deborah Elliott

  8. Welcome, Deborah! Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad you are finding the blog inspiring–and congratulations on starting your own gardening blog! I look forward to seeing what you create, and to welcome you back to Plant Whatever Brings You Joy! Kathryn xoox

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