14 January 2011

springs eternal

Last year after Christmas, I bought three amaryllis bulbs from Lowe’s. They cost something like three bucks a box, complete with bulb, orange plastic pot, and a little disk of peat moss that expands when you water it. I planted one bulb immediately, put the other two in the cool pantry, and then forgot about them. When I found those other two all dried out in April, I decided to pot one of them up to see what I got: Lots of leaves and no blooms. Hmmm, waited too long. Well, anyway, I planted them out in the garden in June (even the third one) and let them grow all summer long in the ground. Come October, I dug them up, shook off the dirt, and stored them in a Styrofoam cooler at the top of the basement stairs.

Tonight I will plant them. Margaret Roach over at A Way to Garden (great blog) tells me to “wake up amaryllis bulbs by watering once, placing in a bright spot, and waiting for them to respond. If no dice in a couple of weeks, water again . . . but don’t repeatedly water an unresponsive bulb, or it may rot. It will tell you when it’s ready for action.”

So, as the temperature outside dips below zero (–1.3°F currently and dropping) and drifted snow glistens in the light of the waxing moon, I am standing here in my warm kitchen—Scamp watching me from his bed next to the heating vent—and potting up these bulbs. I’ve done this about a thousand times, so I know the routine, but I am feeling tentative tonight. I want to do everything right: clean pots, fresh dirt, enough water, and a reasonable amount of hope.

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