Dear Gardening Friends,
We have been blessed with a delightfully warm autumn, which has made these last few weeks in the garden a delight. As I am preparing gardens for their winter rest, my thoughts turn to the upcoming holidays and the winter blooms that will make the season all that much brighter. I hope you don’t mind—the following is from the chapter on Coaxing Winter Blooms, excerpted from Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! With our son’s soccer team headed to the state finals, I haven’t had the ability to focus, spare time to write, or accomplish much of anything besides work. We’re all on pins and needles in anticipation of the Big Game!
Warmest wishes and Season’s Greetings, Kim
P.S. Results of Sunday ‘s game: CONGRATULATIONS VIKINGS, the new Division Three North Massachusetts State Champions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rockport Vikings 1, St.Mary’s, Lynn 0. Wednesday’s game against the winning southern region state champs will be held in Quincy at 5:00pm. GO VIKINGS!
A Note about Amaryllis
Living in New England the year round, with our tiresomely long winter stretching miles before us, and then a typically late and fugitive, fleeting 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 cat-alogues 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 Oh Garden of Fresh Possibilities! ~ Coaxing Winter Blooms