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Warm Colors for a Cold, White Season: GBBD, February 2017

February 15, 2017

amaryllis in snowFebruary is typically the coldest and snowiest month in Maine, and it can easily seem like the longest month of the year. After an unusually warm January, I was feeling a bit complacent about this winter, but that changed with the arrival of February. In one week, we have had four snow storms that deposited one-half of what would normally be a season’s worth of snow. A fifth storm today is expected to dump more than another foot of snow. As snow falls from the sky and piles up in huge snow banks around my house, I am grateful for the warming colors of two amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs that began blooming at the end of January.

flame red amaryllisThe first to bloom was this gorgeous red one, one of three amaryllis bulbs that I rescued from my friend Atsuko’s garage after her death in 2014. It has rewarded me for my patience in waiting three years for it to bloom by producing six flower buds on its single stalk. When backlit by the sun, these flowers glow red-orange like a warming flame. As the sun sets, the color becomes a softer shade with hints of pink and coral.

charisma flowersThis is the third year in a row that ‘Charisma’ has bloomed for me. Its red-speckled flowers are a particular treat during these cold days. This year, it has outdone itself, producing two flower stalks. The first has five flowers on it. The four flower buds on the second stalk just began to open yesterday and should last me until March arrives with its hints of spring.

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day is hosted on the 15th of each month by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. Visit her blog to see what flowers other bloggers have blooming in February.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. February 15, 2017 5:13 pm

    What a colorful treat to brighten up the dog days of February! Beautiful!

    • February 24, 2017 6:31 pm

      Kevin, I agree. The timing on these was perfect!

  2. February 15, 2017 5:17 pm

    Alas, the amaryllis bulb I saved from last year has some impressive foliage but no blossom. I diligently followed instructions on how to keep bulbs blossoming from year to year, but I don’t think this baby is going send up any blooms. Any secrets that you want to divulge?

    • GARY permalink
      February 17, 2017 11:22 am

      Sometimes when you regenerate them they will not bloom that year or they might bloom later during it’s natural bloom time. The bulbs we buy are designed to bloom when shipped.

      • February 17, 2017 12:43 pm

        Thanks Gary. It looks happy and healthy, so perhaps I will get springtime bloom.

    • February 24, 2017 6:30 pm

      Brenda, I have about a dozen potted amaryllis bulbs; and in any given year, two or three of them will bloom. There’s a magic moment when the bulb gets big enough to produce flowers; but right after that moment, it often puts energy into dividing or producing offsets. Both the plants that I had flowering this month have offsets growing out of their sides. In the past, I’ve found that bulbs that put up two flower stalks often divide into two smaller bulbs following that performance.

      • February 24, 2017 8:06 pm

        That’s interesting, Jean. I did not know that the re-blooming rates were that low. I’m not sure that I am willing to put the time and energy needed to keep bulbs healthy and happy from year to year if only one out of five or six will produce blooms. Call me bloom-biased, but the foliage is a bit like growing a giant bulbous leek.

  3. indygardener permalink
    February 15, 2017 8:50 pm

    I love to see the indoor blooms that we winter gardeners grow to keep us sane through February. (I read somewhere that February is like taking the worst day of January and repeating it 28 times.) Anyway… spring is on its way… thanks for sharing your indoor blooms with us for bloom day!

    • February 24, 2017 6:39 pm

      Carol, That’s a funny description of February. 🙂 We are lucky in Maine that, although February is usually cold and snowy, it is also usually bright and sunny when it isn’t snowing. This has been a very strange February. After a week of record-breaking snow, we have had a week of record-breaking warmth with lots of melting. Now that everyone has spring fever, it seems that we are going to crash back into winter for the beginning of March. But the days are getting longer, and spring really will come!

  4. February 15, 2017 9:19 pm

    Hello Jean, i am so very glad i came in here. Next to the hoyas, which i am addicted and getting a lot of my time, attention, hippeastrum is the next one. Even if it just blooms once a year, lots of us crazy hippeastrum followers still try our best to get them. I even exchange from far counries, ask for some seeds or buy if i can afford them. That H. ‘Charisma’is my favorite among those you showed. I hope you pollinated them for the seeds! Maybe you can share some with me, hahaha. Thanks.

    • February 24, 2017 8:06 pm

      Andrea, It had never occurred to me to pollinate the Hippeastrum and save their seeds. Maybe I can try it next year. If I get seeds from ‘Charisma,’ I will definitely send some to you.

  5. sofievandersmissen permalink
    February 16, 2017 1:46 am

    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! I love the amaryllis.
    Greetings, Sofie #26

    • February 24, 2017 8:08 pm

      Sofie, The amaryllis flowers are an important part of my winter mental health program. 🙂

  6. February 16, 2017 11:46 am

    You really are a patient gardener, three years wait, but it paid back! the amaryllis are beautiful!

    • February 24, 2017 8:33 pm

      Lula, The patience required and the uncertainty of getting blooms in any given year only heightens the pleasure I get from these flowers.

  7. February 16, 2017 7:38 pm

    The Hippeastrum look all the more spectacular against the snowy backdrop. I hope you get a gentle warm-up as the month continues.

    • February 24, 2017 8:34 pm

      Kris, Instead of a gentle warm-up, we’ve been getting temperatures about 20 degrees above average. The snow has been melting at a steady pace. After this spring tease, though, winter is forecast to return next week.

  8. GARY permalink
    February 17, 2017 11:26 am

    My “Apple Blossom” amaryllis just bloomed this week and it’s a beautiful pink and white flower. With the surgery I had on the 3rd and this snowy ten days we’ve had here in Maine, it’s color warms the soul.

    • February 24, 2017 8:36 pm

      Gary, I love Apple Blossom. I have one or two bulbs of this variety, but they haven’t bloomed in several years. Each year, I hope this will be the year for flowers on ‘Apple Blossom.’

  9. February 20, 2017 3:07 pm

    It seems you are having the same winter we are. I only made it into work 2 days last week due to snow storms. and here it is snowing again. Just when I thought we were going to have an easy winter. Love the gorgeous Amaryllis blooms. I am attempting cyclamen again. I did in the last plant but I love them so much and you make it look so easy.

    • February 24, 2017 8:38 pm

      Marguerite, For some unknown reason, my usually stalwart cyclamen have not been doing well this year. One seems to have died and the others are looking sickly. I may try dividing and repotting them and see if that helps.
      Have you gotten the same unseasonably warm weather to follow the snow that we got here?

  10. February 26, 2017 3:05 pm

    Your amaryllis are beautiful. I have a beautiful red one blooming right now. It was completely ignored for a year, never making it out of its original pot. And yet with regular watering it is blooming.A second amaryllis, on the same schedule, is now sending out a bud shoot. Just goes to show me how sturdy these bulbs are. I plant to take care of them this summer.

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