Sometimes Plants Surprise Me: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2017

Sometimes plants surprise me. It surprises me that this ‘Sweet Nymph’ amaryllis is blooming.

'Sweet Nymph' amaryllis

‘Sweet Nymph’ has been pretty sweet to me, blooming for Valentine’s Day

Why? Because I didn’t follow any of the “rules” for getting an amaryllis to re-bloom. I did not put it (or my other amaryllises) in a closet in mid-August or early September. Why would I, when the plants were growing lushly? I am pretty sure I didn’t fertilize it, either. At least, not regularly. I probably did withhold water, but not purposefully. I seem to remember a period of time when “water houseplants” was on my list for several weeks without getting done. Let’s call it benign neglect. At any rate, I didn’t try to get it to bloom, and there it is, blooming. Not only blooming, but five flowers on the first stalk and a second stalk coming right along.

second flower stalk Sweet Nymph amaryllis

Can you see the second flower stalk?

Sometimes you luck out and an especially cooperative and obliging plant comes into your life. A few years ago, when my mom was getting ready to move, she handed me a withered Christmas cactus and asked me if I wanted it. It had been an impulse grocery store purchase around the holidays and–well, it’s not too hard to figure out where my tendency to benign neglect comes from.

Christmas cactus reblooming

A supermarket special my mom picked up a few years ago. This photo is from last year.

It’s the first Christmas cactus to start blooming every winter. It always has a second flush of bloom, and right now I see signs of a third flush starting. It’s in a cache pot, and I cringe every time I see what a small pot is inside that cache pot. Meanwhile, my other Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti–which get the same care–are struggling. Go figure.

More stuff blooming

My efforts to force hyacinths this year have met with mixed success.

hyacinths forcing on a window sill

I didn’t start these all at the same time, but, even still, I’d think I’d be seeing some signs of life from those middle ones by now.

Last winter our basement didn’t get cold enough to properly chill the bulbs, so this year I put them in a spare refrigerator (similar to this) that someone had given my son. Well, there’s a reason that fridge was given away. Even at its warmest setting, it was dipping below freezing. (I know this because I used one of my spare temperature sensors from my Acurite weather station; ditto for the basement temps.) Quite a few of the bulbs got moldy, and the ones that are growing aren’t putting out many roots. And, as it turns out, the basement is sufficiently cold this winter and I didn’t need to put them in the refrigerator after all.

hyacinth bloom close up

Too bad they don’t make scratch and sniff screens yet.

I don’t blame the bulb seller. Dee Nash uses the same Exhibition and Forcing Collection from Scheepers/VanEngelen and doesn’t have any problems. And the hyacinths that I have forced successfully have really full flower heads. I will be buying these same bulbs next year.

florist's cyclamen

This cyclamen jumped in my cart while I was grocery shopping.

The florist’s cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) isn’t hardy here, but there are other cyclamens that are. I’m going to try to get this to rebloom next year.

Waiting in the wings

white flowering Christmas cactus

I’ve nursed this white Schlumbergera back from the dead. The original plant belonged to my late mother-in-law. The start she gave me has had its ups and downs.

I think it’s supposed to be a Thanksgiving cactus. Whatever. I am more in need of bloom now.

orchid stem showing buds

I’ve also got an orchid’s re-blooming to look forward to.

And–this is really a stretch–I have some seeds that I’ve wintersown.

winter sown redbud seeds

It doesn’t really count as blooming, but it’s still something to look forward to.

Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens. Check it out at May Dreams Gardens.

Yoohoo! Please note: I am switching to a new email notification service, so those of you who get these blog posts in your inbox need to reconfirm your interest in hearing from me. I am in the process of sending out emails asking you to do this, but I have to send them in batches and not everyone has gotten one yet. If you haven’t gotten your email yet, you can take matters into your own hands and use the sign-up form in the sidebar of my website. Everyone will also now have the option to subscribe to my newsletter, which will have different content than my blog posts. Thank you to everyone who has already confirmed their subscription. It’s a vote of confidence that warms my heart!

from Cold Climate Gardening


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