Where One Year Meets Another

Three large bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna
Three large bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna with a small Mammillaria elongata for scale

It is that time of year. 


It's the season when the gardener goes valiantly forth with a spade and a bagful of lumpy, onion-y objects, in the full faith that some months later those objects will supply the garden with a fairyland of flowers.


I love bulbs, and finding which ones will grow here in the desert has been more of a challenge than I expected - partly because I do love bulbs and refuse to garden without them.  This year's attempts include some which have a fair chance of success.  The enormous specimens above are bulbs of Amaryllis belladonna.


But not just any Amaryllis belladonna, mind you.  These are due to flower white.  I began to have ideas for where to plant a few Amaryllis bulbs, so I went to Bill the Bulb Baron's website.  (Yes, I would have done that anyway for the narcissus, I know!)  In addition to specializing in no-chill narcissus varieties, Bill Welch has been growing strains of Amaryllis belladonna in a variety of hues, variations on the typical pink, apparently ranging from white to near-red.  So now I have one of his deep cherry-pink-red ones and three white ones.  Two of the latter went into the ground yesterday, following the portrait session above.  The dark pink was recently planted in the North Border.


I don't intend to hold my breath as I don't know whether they will begin blooming next summer, or the next still.  But I am so looking forward to seeing the flowers!


There are more bulbs to come, and indeed I still have to plant out the narcissus from this order.  I love the connection between autumn and spring that bulbs bring - or even autumn to next summer, as in the case of Amaryllis belladonna.  Planting bulbs is my favorite act of faith in the future of the garden.

Weather Diary: Fair; High: 93 F (34 C)/Low: 59 F (15 C); Humidity: 9%-39%

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Comments: 6
  • #1

    David C. (Thursday, 12 October 2017 23:59)

    Bulbs truly are that kind of faith, though just their appearance looks very tough and vigorous...some container plants not so much once out in our sun and dry air. Maybe at my next place I'll try Oxblood Lily again?

  • #2

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Friday, 13 October 2017 10:55)

    David - I think I tend to underrate the vigor of bulbs; the ones that can dry out during summer are such great additions here - as long as I remember to keep water on them when they're actively growing! I like my Oxblood Lilies, but they seem more sensitive to rain vs. well water. I think they would prefer the rains to begin in autumn, where ours don't start till winter here. Only one has bloomed so far this year though foliage has come up for several. Did you grow them at your last place? How did they work for you?

  • #3

    Kris P (Friday, 13 October 2017 12:02)

    I love bulbs too. Amaryllis belladonna bloomed without any effort on my part at my old place but I haven't had a good turnout with those I planted here, at least not yet. The bulbs I planted (sent to me by another blogger) produced leaves this past spring but I got only one flower this summer. Maybe it's my sandy soil. I hope yours do better. Anyway, that experience didn't stop me from planting over 200 bulbs this fall (Narcissus, Iris, Freesia and Sparaxis) and I've got 40+ Alliums to go!

  • #4

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Saturday, 14 October 2017 01:35)

    Oh my, Kris! 200 bulbs... my little plantings this year are totally eclipsed! ;-) I will be anxiously waiting to see whether the amaryllis grows well here - I'll have some in clay, others in well-drained soil, so hopefully something will work! I think it's also true that they take awhile to come back after division of clumps, so I expect it will be a year or two (or three!) before they really begin to bloom.

  • #5

    Cathy (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 01:58)

    Hi Amy. The first thing I did when I got back from my holiday was to plant up my four Amaryllis/Hippeastrum bulbs yesterday! :) I keep them indoors and they should flower some time between November and March. I wonder when yours will flower...

  • #6

    Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 18 October 2017 23:46)

    Cathy - I so enjoyed your amaryllis flowers last winter! I wonder which ones you have this year? :-) I usually buy one to bloom through the holidays, then plant it outside after it has bloomed. In the garden they like to flower in springtime.