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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Showing posts with label amaryllis. Show all posts
      Showing posts with label amaryllis. Show all posts

      Monday, December 29, 2008


      A few amaryllis bulbs transform my living room into a plant conservatory for at least six weeks in winter. I buy and plant them in mid-November, leaving their shoulders and necks exposed. When they hit daylight and drink some water the flower buds shoot up.
      It’s not too late to get amaryllis started in January. Those you buy now have gone through a dormancy period at the bulb company and are ready to spring into flower.
      Since flower stalks usually appear before foliage, I sometimes display amaryllis with houseplants and other winter experiments. Here from left , pineapple top rooting in a dish, hyacinth bulbs forcing in water, my aged
      succulent carrion flower
      (Stapelia gigantea)
      in bud, and a cutting
      from Ming Aralia rooting
      in a vase.

      The Stapelia bud soon
      blooms like a giant
      starfish, and
      compliments the
      amaryllis flower.

      For the coffee table,
      I stake the bare
      amaryllis stems
      with a few branches
      trimmed from my
      rooftop bayberry bush .
      The branches help
      support the green
      stems, smell delicious,
      and add visual interest.
      Or I place an amaryllis
      next to a few paper-
      whites that have foliage
      to spare.

      If I’m fed up with an ungainly amaryllis that shoots too tall, I whack off the stem and treat it as a short cut flower. In water it will last at least two weeks.

      When I lived in my
      1850’s farmhouse,
      the kitchen had a
      walk-in fireplace
      with no damper
      on the flue. Cool
      air poured down
      in fall and winter.
      Original pine folding
      doors cut off the draft
      from the rest of the
      house. It was the per-
      fect place to give
      amaryllis bulbs the
      cool, dark, and dry
      they need to go
      dormant before they
      could re-bloom.In my
      NYC condo it’s always
      hot, with storage
      space more precious
      than diamonds. In a
      gesture of extrava-
      gance I consign bulbs
      to the compost bin
      after they finish
      showing off each
      winter. So sue me!

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