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Hippeastrum Happiness: GBBD, February 2016

February 15, 2016

back garden under snowWhen I got up this morning, the thermometer on my back deck read -20F (-29C), so it is hardly surprising  that I have no flowers blooming in my garden. Indeed, although this has not been a heavy snow year in Maine, I am grateful for the few inches of snow cover providing my plants with a layer of insulation during this coldest part of winter. I continue to be dependent on indoor plants for my flower fix.

The flowers are fading on Hippeastrum ‘Charisma,’ whose beautiful translucent blooms have been a source of daily pleasure since late January. Happily, Hippeastrum ‘Picotee’ is just about to flower. There seem to be only two flowers in this bud, instead of the usual four; I’m guessing that this is because the bulb only rested for one year after producing an offset two years ago. I am still hoping that one more of my many potted amaryllis bulbs may make me happy by producing a flower stalk to bloom in March.

fading charisma blooms picotee 2 buds

My potted cyclamen plants provide more reliable and continuous winter bloom.

The oldest of these plants, which bloomed first, is slowing down and getting ready to enter a period of dormancy (when it will drop its leaves and look dead). fading pink cyclamen
pink & white cyclamen Feb 2016 The pink and white corms that are in the same pot are blooming happily together,

and the flame-colored cyclamen in my bedroom is going strong.

cyclamen flame red cyclamen Feb 2016

During my Gettysburg years, I always had cut branches from the pretty lemon-colored Forsythia in my back garden that I could force into bloom at this time of year. I am missing those cheery yellow flowers this year. I transplanted a cutting of this plant into my Maine garden, alongside a division of the more common brassy gold Forsythia that was sacrificed to the new addition on my house. I don’t know how many years it will take before these plants will be big enough to flower. While I’m waiting, I may have to beg some cut branches from a friend who has a large Forsythia growing at the end of her driveway.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see postings from many gardeners who already have spring blooms in their February gardens.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2016 8:00 pm

    Reminds me of growing up in Minnesota with 3 to 4 feet of snow on the ground and temperatures below zero, and of course the discussions of how that would affect livestock…Spring is on it’s way and will come to you shortly.

    • February 19, 2016 9:14 am

      Charlie, After last winter’s harsh conditions, this winter has been easy. Although spring won’t really get here until mid-late April, I am already luxuriating in the promise provided by the lengthening hours of daylight and the increasing warmth of the sun.

  2. February 15, 2016 8:01 pm

    Lovely! I especially like the flame colored cyclamen!
    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

    • February 19, 2016 9:15 am

      Lea, That red cyclamen does not bloom as profusely as the others, but it is a special treat when it does bloom.

  3. February 16, 2016 3:54 pm

    That’s serious winter weather (bit daunting!)

    • February 19, 2016 10:24 am

      Diana, We do have serious winter here. It’s funny, though, that what is daunting depends on what you are used to. I think many of us found this particular cold snap daunting because this has been a mild winter; but this was not record-breaking cold by any means, and would have been just another cold night last winter.

  4. February 16, 2016 11:45 pm

    Minus 20F! I can’t even conceive of that kind of cold. It’s wonderful that you have the pretty Hippeastrum and Cyclamen to tide you through winter. Your Hippeastrum are well ahead of mine as all of mine are planted outside. With summer-like temperatures already seemingly firmly in place here, I’m not sure I’ll get any blooms from them at all this year. And I had to move my Cyclamen (admittedly a foolish purchase on my part) out of harm’s way of the heat to ensure any prospect of their survival. Our climates couldn’t be more different than they are at the moment.

    • February 19, 2016 10:30 am

      Kris, My garden is on the border of USDA cold-hardiness zones 5a and 4b, which are demarcated by low winter temperatures of -20F and -25F respectively. So, while this is not unusual cold here, it is about as cold as it will get in a typical winter. Of course, we all have wardrobes and houses designed for cold. I remember being dismayed my first winter in southern California, when I realized that there was no insulation in my apartment building and that I had to make sure that I didn’t leave clothes I was planning to wear in the morning hanging against the outside wall of the closet overnight!

  5. February 17, 2016 3:11 pm

    ‘Charisma’ is very aptly nameed!

    • February 19, 2016 10:30 am

      Jason, It is a beautiful plant and has bloomed more readily for me than most of my other amaryllis bulbs.

  6. February 19, 2016 5:16 pm

    Fabulous blooms Jean…I have not seen ‘Charisma’, and it is lovely….I have had ‘Picotee’ before and loved its flower.

    • February 19, 2016 9:58 pm

      Donna, Picotee just opened its first flower yesterday, so I am enjoying its beauty now.

  7. February 19, 2016 7:24 pm

    Hi Jean, so you have hippeastrum too. I have a very old H puniceum that are just left on the ground throughout time, and they now make long ang healthy hedges, how lovely they are producing only flowers after our first heavy rains at start of rainy season. But i also started collecting a few of them, although might still be a long time as seeds are from US friends. Carol Noel from Hawaii was the 1st one to give and maybe the 4 bulbs i was lucky to germinate will flower this year.

    I didn’t know that cyclamens have dormancy, encountered it in my sister’s house in New Zealand, thought it was dying so tried hard to make it live. After i left, the owner of the cyclamen who was on vacation returned and sent me photos already flowering, i was so amazed.

    • February 19, 2016 10:00 pm

      Andrea, There’s no chance of growing Hippeastrum outdoors here, but they are highly prized as forced bulbs to brighten up our long winters. Cyclamen have a reputation for being difficult houseplants to keep, but I think that is because so many people think they are dead and throw them out when they go into dormancy.

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