Sunday, March 23, 2008

late bloomer

i meant to write about this on the vernal equinox which was, by now, a few days ago. but better late than never, i suppose, as you'll soon see. what's important is that i tell the story of my flower. this is my amaryllis. that is snow on my driveway behind it. despite said snow, this amaryllis means spring to me. it has been in my life for 5 years, almost as long as i've had Cob, and there's a reason for this which i'll get to in a minute. but first, let me tell you about my plant. every year it blooms in the last week of February into about the first half of March. once a year, it lets loose these flamboyant, red, trumpet-like blooms to herald in the change of season, and then goes back to its silent way of being for the other 11 months of the year.

each year i've had it, it's grown one additional stalk of blooms, which i tell you, delight me to no end. just ask Cob. it's like 'plant-cam' all over again. i don't do anything special to it - just water it every now and then (i think a Fairbanks winter is as close as you get to a good hibernation - dormancy that some plants need). during that winter, we go down to about 3 or 4 leaves and then every spring, they start coming back with the sun until i begin to see the beginnings of bloom stalks, and then there's another, and another, and then, well, then my old friend is back and the world is right. it's like the final promise of spring that can't be broken. it's for real - all this winter stuff will in fact end, and spring comes back in a triumphant blaze of red.

but this year, two things happen. we apparently maxed out at 4 stalks (unless i re-pot for some growing room this summer) and it bloomed a whole month late? what does THAT mean? any theories?

but here's another thing that will help you see this plant as i do - for all its promises. i was given this plant by two of Cobbie's friends, Antonia and Dante. A & D were in the peace corps with Cob 10 years ago in Ukraine. they are a wonderful italian and german couple in their 60s or 70s and truly, if you meet them, you will want them to adopt you. they befriended Cob during what he calls his 'disastrous peace corps experience' and when it blooms, it reminds him of them and the friendship they share. when i got this guy, he was a little squirt of a thing in a little plastic pot competing for attention in the wonderfully overgrown tangle of grapes, pomegranates, endless plants, and artwork that is their backyard.

now we depend on him to come back every year and bloom for us - funny how that never gets old.

1 comment:

Eero said...

Good post---I like your writing!I work with plants, so I thought I could make some suggestions for your for your Amaryllis and the change it made this year:

Did you store it any differently this year? A little colder or a little drier/wetter soil? There is a chance that it may need to be repotted or divided, as the bulb may be splitting or outgrowing it's pot. (There are good books on how-to.)
Also, it may need the assistance of just a little fertilizer when the bloom spikes begin to show up---some extra nutrients to give it strength to make those gorgeous blooms.
Whatever you've been doing for 5 years, you're doing it right!