With the possible exception of lilies, I don't think there's a more regal garden flower than Hippeastrums. I have begun to use them to replace both border tulips and, to a degree, lilies, in this garden where neither can grow consistently. It gives me a chance to have my cake and eat it, as winter-bloomed container bulbs can then go out into the garden. Last year's "Naranja" actually bloomed again after it was planted out - no mean feat as it had already opened two full heads of flowers! So this year I planned for Hippeastrum "Miracle" as a double-duty flower, first for holiday decoration, then as a permanent garden bulb. This is the result so far.
It is not yet a garden flower. It was container grown, even spending a few weeks indoors before it was moved back out to enjoy the mild winter weather. This meant later bloom; the full buds held for well over a week before opening, but I find the plants are quite healthy that way, and the stems and foliage remain shorter, everything kept more in balance. And then it will go into the border when it is finished blooming. Not something one could do in a cold winter garden (though reports on hardiness vary), but here I find it is my favorite way of growing these luscious flowers.
However, I also love to see the enormous blooms indoors; and as several of you have posted on using them as cut flowers, I decided to try this year, rather than move the whole plant back inside. The first post I ever saw on the subject must have been this one from Rambling in the Garden two Decembers ago, and there have been others there since!
Deciding to cut this stem was easier than it might have been because the bulb has sent up no fewer than three husky flower stems. This is the first, and I really thought the bulb might as well save its energy for opening the remaining two! Note: I have been very impressed with the quality of the bulbs I've received from the John T. Scheepers company. While not bargain-priced, they are reasonable, and the quality, vigor, and floriferousness have been consistently impressive, though this triple stemmed bulb is a bit beyond even that!
I snipped some stems of Russelia equisetiformis "Big Red" to accent and help fill out the hefty Hippeastrum stem in the vase.
And I slipped them all into my dark-glazed little stoneware pot, whose round shape gives the effect of the stem rising from a bulb.
There have also been some flowers from the lovely variety Lemon Star featuring at Words and Herbs for a couple of weeks. Cathy there gave me the advice to wrap a rubber band around the base of the stem to keep it from splitting, so I have done that. I also made the final stem cut underwater, which I have read recommended for other hollow bulb stems such as tulips. I am hoping the blooms last well, and I'm very happy to get to enjoy them indoors at last!
It certainly makes a splendid vase: the first of 2017!
I hope all of you have a beautiful new year!
And now I will head over to Rambling in the Garden to see what others have posted for this week's IaVoM. I'm far behind on blog following right now as my internet connection has been extremely slow this past week. I've been unable to even load some of your blogs. We're back to normal now and I'm looking forward to enjoying a little catching up!
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 57 F (14 C)/Low: 43 F (6 C); Humidity: 51%-99%
Cathy (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 14:05)
It took a few minutes to connect to your site at this end Amy, so I wonder if that is part of the same problem that you have been having? It was so intersting reading about the way you can grow hippeastrum in your part of the world - so alien from thUK of course! Theoretically you can get them to reflower the following year here by feeding and resting them at appropriate times but I have never managed it yet - although last year's are still alive and do have leaves, so perhaps there is hope for another year, but they are not attractive as they are so I may not keep them any longer and buy fresh each year. Your Russelia is the perfect accompaniment to your deep red one - and I am glad you have taken the plunge and finally cut one for a vase! Thanks for sharing it
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 15:32)
Cathy - Hmm... Our problems have to do directly with our carrier, so there shouldn't be any difficulties connecting to the site; please let me know if that continues! I know just what you mean about carrying amaryllis over to another season as I never could do it myself! Never sure whether it was my timing or just my difficult indoor conditions, but it's been such a treat to have them thrive outdoors. I've seen some interesting variations given in terms of cold hardiness, so I can't help wondering whether they might make it through a mildly freezing winter outdoors if given good drainage and heavy mulch... But I wouldn't know.. ! Thanks for the encouragement and advice for cutting; it's one of those things I could never have brought myself to do earlier ;-)
Kris P (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 18:07)
The Hippeastrum and Russelia make a strong statement when combined together, Amy. I'm glad to hear that you've already had some success with planting the Hippeastrums out in the garden. Your post will send out into my own garden to see if there are any buds developing on the Hippeastrums I've planted out in an effort to get them to naturalize. I had success with this in my former (pre-drought) garden and have had a couple return here but I've seen no signs that of them spreading about yet.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 03 January 2017 20:03)
It will certainly be a while longer before I know whether these will naturalize, Kris. But I do find leaves from what appears to be an offset from the first Amaryllis I planted out. So I'm taking that as a hopeful sign. But too early to know! I'll be interested to know how yours work out. At this point I have no buds on any of my garden amaryllises, just plenty of floppy leaves... ;-)
danger garden (Tuesday, 03 January 2017)
I can't even fathom seeing a flower like that in my garden. Crazy talk! But a magnificent vase just the same.
Cathy (Wednesday, 04 January 2017 01:54)
So glad you took the plunge and cut one of your stems! It is really gorgeous with the Russelia together. I do envy you being able to grow them outdoors too - our winters are definitely too cold for them but growing them indoors really cheers up the house at this time of year! I hope your new year is full of beautiful flowers and happy gardening moments Amy!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 04 January 2017 23:12)
Loree - Definitely it's one of the most thrilling bulbs I've been able to grow here... ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 04 January 2017 23:15)
Cathy - It's working so well as a cut flower; thanks for the extra encouragement and good wishes ;-)