It's time to change the status of amaryllis.
Most gardeners grow amaryllis as a holiday treat, a pretty bloom to gift to a hostess or to complement Christmas decor.
I'm an anti-Christmas amaryllis advocate.
Really, the holidays provide enough tinsel and glitter to brighten winter days. It's post-Christmas, when the tree composts in the forest and the shiny, sentimental ornaments hide away in the basement that we need cheer. We need something to anticipate, something beautiful to distract us from the dreary days. Spring is still a long way off, and freezing rain isn't festive.
But the promise of flowers, well...that helps us endure the winter months a bit better.
A few years ago, as my amaryllis obsession escalated (thanks to the beautiful photos of my friend Kylee of Our Little Acre), I planted amaryllis to accompany the Christmas festivities. You know what? Rather than enjoying the planting process and festive flowers--it was stressful. Like most of us, I'm overwhelmed with busy-ness during the holiday season. Kids' concerts, parties, decorating, baking, shopping...it's exhausting. Adding one more thing to do--potting up and caring for amaryllis bulbs--caused me to curse my new obsession instead of enjoying the experience of growing in winter. I planted the bulbs too late for the blooms to coincide with Christmas, which frustrated me. Then, finding a place for the pots among the holiday decorations made our house look cluttered.
It wasn't until January, when the first bloom appeared, that I finally enjoyed the amaryllis...and I had my epiphany.
Amaryllis blooms shouldn't be promoted for Christmas. Instead, they should become a tradition to celebrate the New Year.
Really, think about it. It makes sense, doesn't it? Pop the champagne on New Year's Eve, and the next day, pot up amaryllis bulbs to celebrate the potential for the New Year. It's the happiest hangover cure, a quiet day spent playing in potting soil, admiring enormous bulbs, wondering how many blooms will fill each pot.
It's the perfect new tradition.
Plus, amaryllis bulbs grow easily by following a few simple steps, which I wrote about here.
While many of us break our New Year's resolutions within the first few weeks, the simplicity of growing amaryllis helps us achieve our resolutions to fill our homes with flowers.
This year, let's resolve to make January "International Amaryllis Month." Let's start a gardening trend, promoting amaryllis bulbs for post-holiday growing, rather than adding to our already over-scheduled December.
Who's with me?
With the pressure of holiday growing behind us, we can then...
...grow ALL the amaryllis! (Really, I'm not kidding. I'm obsessed. I need them all.)
Happy indoor gardening!