Enjoy flowery beauty this winter

On Saturday afternoon, our front doorbell rang. When we answered, the delivery man already was gone.
He’d left a box on the porch that read, “Merry Christmas from a late Santa and Happy Valentine’s Day from an early Cupid! Jun and Ree.”
Jun Kaneko is an internationally- renowned sculptor whom we have become friends with through our son, who has worked for Kaneko over the years.
Jun and Ree are very generous and have excellent taste in gifts, so we were excited to open the box from Harry and David.
Imagine our delight when we found two pre-planted amaryllis bulbs in a handcrafted red cedar planter.
What fun we will have from now to Valentine’s Day watching the little shoots of green grow and grow into the brilliant scarlet trumpet-shaped flower of the amaryllis.
Imagine how beautiful it will be with two bulbs side-by-side flowering at the same time!
The whole family was delighted, but the gift of an amaryllis had special meaning for me. It took me back to a day in November, 1985 when my mother seemed to be dying of heart failure.
As a silent symbol of hope for both of us, I bought an amaryllis bulb when we were out shopping together. And my mother eagerly planted it as soon as we got home.
Two days later, my mother was gone.
As I grieved, the amaryllis grew and blossomed, giving me hope and brightness for the future.
This little ritual was so meaningful, in fact, that I followed it for years. In late November, I would pot an amaryllis in remembrance.
But somewhere along the way, I let the ritual lapse. Now I am beginning it again.
Amaryllis is an interesting plant. Native to South Africa, South America, and the Caribbean, it was first identified in Chile by German botanist and explorer Eduard Friedrich Poeppig in 1828.
Interestingly, amaryllis was only one of more than 4,000 plant species Poeppig identified!
Amaryllis loves the winter (grown in a warm location or inside the house). Its natural tendency is to bloom in the middle of winter when we most need some cheering up.
But, today, many people prefer to force the red blooms for the holidays. Thus, the stunning red amaryllis is more associated with Christmas than Valentine’s Day.
This year, we will change that tradition!
The name amaryllis is of Greek origin and means “to sparkle.” Sparkle: glitter, to give off or reflect flashes of light, to be brilliant in performance, to flash with wit, to shine with animation.
And that is exactly what an amaryllis can do for you in the dead of winter.
It can add a little “sparkle” to your winter life. It can get you going and help you become more upbeat during the short days and long nights.
It even may help you fend off the “winter blues.”
So why not start growing some flowering bulbs this week–preferably amaryllis. The bulbs can be expensive, but they are worth it.
With care and a green thumb, an amaryllis bulb can flower year after year, blooming for up to 75 years.
Treat yourself to beauty and bring hope into the dark days of winter.
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@cox.net