Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yes Beautiful but...........

With my birthday being in November, I am often given an amaryllis at that time. This past year was no different and I potted it up at once. I can't say that I am particularly fond of them for they produce one long flower stalk, which when the huge flower opens, leans precariously over one way or the other, threatening to tip the whole thing onto the floor. Every day you have to turn the pot towards the light, for they are phototropic, but once the flower is out, it is impossible to straighten it again, due to the weight of it.

As you can see, even with a brass support, it is leaning wildly and usually I place a huge dictionary besides the pot to prevent it from toppling right over.
It's twenty-seven inches tall

Yes, it is quite beautiful, a lovely colour but still a huge nuisance
and non vale la pena, just not worth it

Now for the educational part of the program. Although commonly and erroneously called an amaryllis, this bulb is in fact a Hippeastrum.

Hippeastrum is a genus of about 70-75 species and 600+ hybrids and cultivars of bulbous plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Carribean. Some species are grown for their large showy flowers. These plants are popularly but erroneously known as Amaryllis, an African genus in the same family.

Contrast this with:

Amaryllis is a monotypic (only one species) genus of plant also known as the Belladonna Lily or naked ladies. The single species, Amaryllis belladonna, is a native of South Africa, particularly the rocky southwest region near the Cape.

Now that wasn't so painful was it.

A little award came my way recently. You make my day! It came from Ian Lidster who definitely deserves it. As well as being a professional journalist and writer he maintains a wonderfully entertaining blog. He wrote a newspaper column for many years and in my opinion there is no one like him to take an idea and run with it every which way, in a quietly humorous way. If you have not encountered Ian before take a look at The 'gormful' could rule if we'd let them? I was really looking for a hilarious one he wrote about sleeping nude but could not find it. Thanks for thinking of me Ian, I really appreciate it.

I want to apologize for this blog still being a bit sporadic and even more frivolous and less erudite than usual. At my age, you'd think I would have my act together. Maybe soon, maybe later. Who can say?


Sarabeth said...

JMB, I think that is what attracts people to personal blogs . . . the unpredictability of them, how the posts and words and photos are reflections of how the person's life is progressing.

What I am trying to say is that no apology is necessary. Peaks and valleys are life, are beautiful in themselves. Whatever you write, I enjoy. Your perspective broadens my own.

sally in norfolk said...

Every year i think about growing an amaryllis but I am put off as they never look neat and tidy..lol

leslie said...

They truly are beautiful flowers but as you say, are they worth all the time and energy? And who cares what you write about - I've never seen anything boring here yet! ;D

Rositta said...

Jmb, reading your post reminded me of something that happened to us a few years ago. I had to sit down and write it, I am growing a Amaryllis too but it's not very big yet. Beautiful color...ciao

Carver said...


I enjoyed the post. I like you have encountered the difficulty in keeping an amaryllis upright in a pot. What has surprised me is how well they've done in my climate planted outdoors. All of mine were actually gifts to my parents that got passed on to me as I have a reputation of getting things to bloom more than once. Well I have done that and returned plants to my parents during their life time once I got them to bloom again. With the amaryllis, I planted them in my garden and put rather deep mulch on the top in the winter, then rake aside the mulch in the spring. I still get blooms from plants given to my parents even though my Mom died in 1990 and my dad died in 1998. It always makes me think of them when plants which were once theirs bloom again in my garden. I always enjoy reading your blog and glad to see you post. Take care, Carver

Dreaming again said...

I love your blog.

I like Amaryllis' ... what's the connection with the November birthday?

I'm terrible with plants ... mine would be skinny and scrawny and probably not bloom!

Vic, the Cariboo Ponderer said...

I am having exactly the same problem with a hyacinth I bought last week. It was a tiny thing and almost overnight became a top heavy giant pink blossom which refuses to stay up. I will have to find a stick to hold it up.

Ellee Seymour said...

JMB, you certainly have green fingers. And I agree with you about Ian's excellent blog.
Here is the link for The Passion Play, and there is another one at the top of the page which will play it for you. I see that they are archived too, so you should be able to play it after Friday. It is very highly acclaimed:

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

I always learn something new over here.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

It is beautiful - I didn't know they were so wilful, though!

the teach said...

jmb, "more frivolous and less erudite" is okay by me! But it is NOT "less erudite" really! The photo of the Hippeastrum is beautiful!

Dragonstar said...

What a beautiful flower! But I like plants to have several flower-heads, and preferably attractive leaves, too. And they need to be able to look after themselves a bit at times. I probably won't bother.

Crushed by Ingsoc said...

Unfortunately, Amaryllis reminds me of the eighty LONG cantos I had to read at uni by Philp Sidney,Amaryllis and some Greek nymph or other who Amaryllis was in love with.

A thinly veiled series of poems on his unrequited love for some young maiden who married Baron Rich instead.

Moral of the story. I guess writing blogs when you're feeling depressed is good.
Eighty cantos of pure drivel that future generations might have to study, less so.

Thank God for blogging, we save future generations from such misery :)

I would imagine from what you say that Amaryllidaceae share a common ancestor in the late cretaceous, before Africa and South America broke apart. They would have spread north about three million years ago, when the americas met .

Liz said...

What a beautiful flower. I never knew so much about them.

I think Ian's blog is fab too.

jmb said...

Hi Sarabeth,
Well you always find something here that reflects me in some way or another. Thanks for your kind words.

Hi Sally,
I think they are weird, a beautiful flower on a tall stem. Sally but people always seem to be giving them to me. I emailed the photos to the giver however.

Hi Leslie,
I don't put too much time and energy into them. Just pot them up and throw them out when the flower is gone. Bit of a waste really, but too much trouble to get to flower again.

Hi Rositta,
I came to check what this reminded you of, too funny really.

Hi Carver,
I guess it's warmer in your part of the world and you can keep them on. I'm amazed that you have some that have been going for so long.

Hi PK,
Thank you for your kind words. It seems that the bulbs arrive in the stores around early November, so it seems I am giving them for my November birthday. I think bloom is guaranteed with these things, the flower is in the bulb, you just have to water and wait.

Hi Vic,
Well at least you hyacinth won't be as tall as this giant thing. Plus this has no odour so the hyacinth has a plus there.

Hi Ellee,
No green fingers needed for this thing. Just water and wait as I said. I am still having trouble with that crazy BBC 4.

Hi James,
But is it useful information, most of the time I doubt it.

Hi Welshcakes,
Very wilful, they are. They just won't stand up straight!

Hi Teach,
Well it's often frivolous here and actually never erudite really. I was very pleased with the photo, just a little bit enhanced.

Hi Dragonstar,
The leaves come later and are not very attractive unfortunately. Very rarely they have two flower stems.

Hi Crushed,
Well I'll give those 80 cantos a miss, since you don't recommend them. But lots of blogs qualify for drivel too, sometimes this one I'm sure, often actually.
They are both of the same family of course, but a different genus so what you say might be true. Of course the Hippeastrum has been much hybridized as well.

Hi Liz,
More than you wanted to know I'm sure. Ian is indeed a treasure.

Thanks to everyone for visiting and commenting.

Liz said...

They do bring a lovely splash of colour though and there is something majetic about them, I think. They almost seem to defy nature.

Liz said...

Now thaht confused me! Reading the comments and seeing another Liz. I looked at it and thougt,' I'm sure that's not what I wrote!' But it is earlyish in the morning so it might have been. I will have to visit my namesake.

Political Umpire said...

You really have a skill for great pictures JMB.

More wine ethical questions set for you this morning, incidentally ...

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

'Gormful'- hmmmm.

Chris said...

Hello, JMB, long time, no speak. So much is going on for me at the moment, some OK, some not so.

However, I still manage to read all of my favourite blogs and have to say that whatever you write is fine by me. It's all wonderfully readable, even the 'frivolous ones.

At present I have an amaryllis about the same height as yours with two flower stalks each heading in a different direction, so the turning of the pot ritual seems a bit pointless sometimes. I've now put it on the kitchen windowsill with one flower leaning against the wall and the other against the radio. Seems to work.

Love Bears All Things said...

Well it is pretty even if it does lean. And a little bloom in the winter is uplifting.
Mama Bear