Saturday, December 22, 2012

Adventures In Gardening: Winters Arrival & Amaryllis Season

Happy Winter friends!

The Solstice has come & gone once again and despite cold temps settling in for the long haul, our daylight hours now begin to lengthen bit by bit as we slowly turn back towards the sun.

I tell y'all what, Autumn didn't leave us here without a fight!  A wind-swept rain storm brought down more trees & branches, knocking out power again for many, as well as flooding.  I'm usually so sad to see Autumn go, but this year I'm glad to move forward!  Now, Old Man Winter is making sure any trace of Autumn is blown away before Christmas arrives.  Wind is roaring around us here, as we're down in a bit of a valley here on the coast, bringing down more branches and keeping temps in the 30s.  We've had bouts of flurries & snow showers throughout the day and even though it's not enough to stick, I'm delighted!  It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas!

Indoors, the Amaryllis have begun to bloom and what I fondly call 'Amaryllis Season' is under way!  The first to bloom, a new one I'm trying this year (but I've misplaced the name of), had been open since the beginning of December. Today, one of my many 'Apple Blossom' has started to open.

I adore Amaryllis!

In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't grow them, but I've only been doing so for several years. In my Zones (coastal NJ 7b & mountain NJ Zone 6a), Amaryllis aren't usually able to grow outside like in warmer climates, especially when we have a normal Northeast Winter!  (There were a couple of 'Winters that weren't' where I did get them to grow outside, in pots, but the results were lackluster despite lush foliage).  I love growing them around our home while my garden outside is at rest.  As with most blooms, they're quite addictive!  You can never have too many - no matter what my Hubby says!  I've grown many shades of red & pink, solids & striped, one that was nearly orange and one that was white, but 'Apple Blossom' is my favorite.  

These bulbs combine a couple of aspects of growing I love most: Low maintenance with beautiful blooms.  Plop an Amaryllis bulb into just about any container (I prefer one with some kind of drainage holes) filled with your favorite potting soil or pebbles, water sparingly (to avoid mold & rot which happen all too often here), place around your home (in direct sun or indirect) and voila!  Stunning blooms.

I usually begin forcing the bulbs around Halloween and stagger them from that point on by a week or two in between so I have Amaryllis blooming from Thanksgiving through Valentines, but, this year I got a later than usual start because Hurricane Sandy drove me to complete distraction.

I'm fascinated by how they change, not just daily, but throughout any give day once they open, which usually compels me to take many (many!) photos of them every day.  This year, I created a photo slideshow on picasa called The Daily Amaryllis for my blog, Diggin' Around, which I'll be adding new photos to throughout the weeks to come, so I can share all of this season's Amaryllis photos in one spot.  I wanted to share it with you here too:

After today, you can drop by my blog to see new photos!  (Scroll down, the slideshow appears in the right hand column).

I'll see you here next Saturday, December 29th, my 1st anniversary of writing for The#gardenchatBlog!

I leave you with best wishes & blessings for this Winter and a Merry Christmas to all who are celebrating next week!

aka Bloomin'Chick. Wife, mother of an angel in Heaven, survivor; a real Jersey Girl. (What you see on those reality shows isn't real!) Writer, photographer, joyful gardener (coastal Zone 7b/mountain Zone 6a) & avid reader. Eclectic, creative & happily married late 30-something who lives at the sea w/her heart in the mountains who happens to be disabled with Seronegative Arthritis & Fibromyalgia.  I blog about my passions & life at Diggin’ Around and my NJ at NewJersey Through My Eyes.   

Be sure to catch more of my daily garden photo shares via #GardenWalk where you can see what's growing around the world right now & share your garden with like-minded folks!


Deborah Aldridge said...

Here in S. FL, our amaryllis's don't bloom until spring and early summer. I have a couple of really pretty ones that I'm repotting after they bloom this year. One is called Green Goddess and I really love it! It has two pups and I can't wait until I have a whole clump of them. This is what it looks like.

Jo said...

Wow Deborah, that's gorgeous! I'd love to be able to have them grow outside here too but alas, our climate here won't allow it, especially when we have normal Northeast Winters!