Symbolic of success, strength, and determination according to FTD.com, the amaryllis is a captivating flowering bulb. Gardener’s Supply says the Greek meaning of the word, “Amaryllis” means “to sparkle” and details the mythological love story Amaryllis and Alteo. Gardener’s Supply also states that an amaryllis bulb can live for 75 years!
The exotic winter blooming amaryllis has become a part of the Christmas tradition for many people. For me it began in my grandmother’s last years. She was mostly housebound in those years and my mother decided watching a beautiful flower grow would bring her joy. My mother was right. Both my grandmother and her caretaker, Betty, quickly became enthusiastic about the fast-growing bulb. They kept the yard stick near the pot and made daily measurements of the growth, delightedly reporting every inch. Each year we gave her a different variety and each year the enthusiasm would build as the amaryllis came closer and closer to bloom time. What color would it be? How big would the bloom be? When the bloom day finally arrived friends and family made a visit to observe the amaryllis in all its glory. My grandmother and Betty would show off their gorgeous flower like proud parents whose child had just won the spelling bee.
Those memories came flooding back this year when my dear friend, Celeste, gave both me and another friend, Caroljeanne, amaryllis bulbs for Christmas. Celeste works with the University of Tennessee Agriculture Center which has an amaryllis yearly sale where she was able to get some wonderful varieties. The three of us made regular text message reports on the progress of each bulb. Caroljeanne’s delicate pink flower arrived first. I realized immediately I would have to begin a painting to mark the three bulbs. Celeste’s gorgeous variegated red and white flower arrived second. And finally, my beautiful salmon-colored double petal variety, “Double Dream” made its dramatic presentation.
Instead of replicating my grandmother and Betty with their yardstick, I recorded the rapid growth with my camara. The preliminary work has begun for a painting of the three beauties with a colored pencil drawing of Caroljeanne’s lovely pink flower pictures above. Next will come Celeste’s variegated beauty. “Double Dream” will bring up the rear as it did with its blooming. In the meantime, I couldn’t resist showing off the progress of the growth in a slideshow.
For more about buying, growing and caring for Amaryllis bulbs follow these links:
University of Tennessee Agricultural Center, Jackson, TN