a change of pace from snow banks and snow drifts
spanish poppies*carmine colored pencil*hot embers*sunrise*sunset* sherbet*apricots*pumpkins*saffron*coral*tangerines*orioles*monarch* butterflies*california poppies*amaryllis*marigolds*butterfly weed* dahlias*mexico*mariachi band*flamenco*flamingoes*koi*tigers*curry* mangoes*melons*passion*love*light*life*autumn leaves*lobster* paella*carrots*salmon*south of france*paul gauguin*van gogh sunflowers*Warhol*
add your orange favorite
The last stalk of ‘Orange Sovereign’ was cut, the plant discarded, and the pot tucked away for next year’s Hippeastrums. If we had a spare sunny window, I would feed and water the plant during the winter then place outside on the patio during the warm summer months, allowing the plant to replenish and rejuvenate.
Looking back at my photo files, the first snapshot of ‘Orange Sovereign’ was from December 15, 2011; the photo below was taken January 30, 2012. Growing flowering bulbs during the winter is a terrific and economical way to keep the home lively with cheery color, in spite of the gloomy grays of winter.
Hippeastrum ‘Orange Sovereign’ ~ January 30, 2012
Round Two with Hippeastrum
‘Orange Sovereign’ has given us a second stalk, and it too, is laden with gorgeous, satiny buds.
Bulb-buying tip: Upon seeing the second stalk, a friend visiting our home last week remarked that the amaryllis she purchases at the supermarket typically only have a few flowerheads and rarely a second stalk. I recommend purchasing Hippeastrum (amaryllis) bulbs in the fall, through local nurseries and bulb suppliers. Select the plumpest and firmest bulb available. The supermarket bulbs are usually boxed and pre-packaged, which doesn’t allow the opportunity to inspect the bulb. Both Corliss Bros. and Wolf Hill carry a great selection of Hippeastrum bulbs.
A Note about Hippeastrum
Living in New England the year round, with our tiresomely long winter stretching miles before us, followed by a typically late and fugitive spring, we can become easily wrapped in those winter-blues. Fortunately for garden-makers, our thoughts give way to winter scapes of bare limbs and berries, Gold Finches and Cardinals, and plant catalogues to peruse. If you love to paint and write about flowers as do I, winter is a splendid time of year for both, as there is hardly any time devoted to the garden during colder months. I believe if we cared for a garden very much larger than ours, I would accomplish little of either writing or painting, for maintaining it would require just that much more time and energy.
Coaxing winter blooms is yet another way to circumvent those late winter doldrums. Most of us are familiar with the ease in which amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs will bloom indoors. Placed in a pot with enough soil to come to the halfway point of the bulb, and set on a warm radiator, in several week’s time one will be cheered by the sight of a spring-green, pointed-tipped flower stalk poking through the inner layers of the plump brown bulbs. The emerging scapes provide a welcome promise with their warm-hued blossoms, a striking contrast against the cool light of winter.
Perhaps the popularity of the amaryllis is due both to their ease in cultivation and also for their ability to dazzle with colors of sizzling orange, clear reds and apple blossom pink. My aunt has a friend whose family has successfully cultivated the same bulb for decades. For continued success with an amaryllis, place the pot in the garden as soon as the weather is steadily warm. Allow the plant to grow through the summer, watering and fertilizing regularly. In the late summer or early fall and before the first frost, separate the bulb from the soil and store the bulb, on its side, in a cool dry spot—an unheated basement for example. The bulb should feel firm and fat again, not at all mushy. After a six-week rest, the amaryllis bulb is ready to re-pot and begin its blooming cycle again. Excerpt from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Coaxing Winter Blooms
Click last photo to see slideshow
The taxonomy of the genus Hippeastrum is complicated. Hippeastrum is a genus of about 90 species and over 600 hybrids and cultivars, native to topical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. For some time there was confusion amongst botanists over the generic names Hippeastrum and Amaryllis, which led to the application of the common name “amaryllis” when referring to Hippeastrum. The genera Amaryllis refers to bulbs from South Africa.