During winter, whether the remembered long Vermont and Wyoming winters or the more recent milder winters of Kentucky, I miss flowers.
The blooms of an amaryllis or a bowl tucked full of paper white bulbs have bridged the months when there are no flowers in the garden.
I brought home an amaryllis--one of those packaged with a plastic pot and a packet of soil--on December 1st. Almost immediately the stem began to push up. It grew lanky and tall during the short days before the solstice, leaning into the low slanting light of the north window by day, then curving dramatically toward kitchen lights which were turned on in late afternoon.
During Christmas week it bloomed--delicate etchings of apple blossom pink on waxy white petals, a glowing heart of pale green.
One of my Christmas gifts from Dawn and Howard was this plump bulb settled in an elegant glass cylinder. Three flower buds were snuggled against the papery green covering.
This amaryllis seemed reluctant to begin stretching. I watched daily as the white roots reached down into the black pebbles.
Slowly the main stem pushed to the top of the vase.
A month after Christmas Eve two flower stalks stood above the rim of the glass.
I have been eagerly awaiting the time when color would appear.
Sunday morning's bloom--this evening both are more fully opened and the velvety dark centers are visible.
During the Christmas season of 2016 I collected five amaryllis bulbs of larger size than those commonly encountered in supermarket or chain store displays.
Two of these I gave to our friends who rent the lower farmhouse and barn.
During the summer I moved mine to the porch, gave them fresh potting soil and regular watering.
All three sent up leaf stalks.
Come October I cut them back, settled the three bulbs in one large pot and placed them on a dark shelf in the cool basement room.
Fred, next door, summered his bulbs in the garden--soil enriched with the bedding forked from the goat pens in the barn. When they were lifted for the winter the bulbs had nearly doubled in size.
We were away all day on Friday, traveling to the U of L dental clinic for my follow-up visit.
When we returned just after dark, I found that Fred and Bonny had parked an amaryllis on the kitchen table--'sharing' the renewed bloom time of one I had given them a year ago.
I am determined to learn how to coax a rebloom from these lovely things--but for now I have delivered my three languishing specimens into Fred's custodial care!