Love-note fertilizer

I have gorgeous amaryllis. It’s a flower, but it’s like a wildfire, sparkling in the middle of my kitchen table. Like with flames, I can look at it and into it forever.  And every time I come home and see it, it makes me smile. Not because of its aesthetical qualities, but because of its story.

My girlfriend gave me this beauty for my birthday about five years ago. Amaryllises are winter flowers. They shoot a thick long arrow out at the beginning of December and then start “burning” around Christmas time, facing all ways with gigantic lambent bell-flowers. Mine originated from Manitoba, so by the time I brought it home, it was a bit shabby, but still alive.

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Quite often potted flowers that serve as gifts don’t last outside of that original blooming stage. After petals touch the dirt, the entire plant starts dying and is pretty much garbage. Well, I’m stubborn and I don’t like single-use anything. 

So after it was done blooming, I cut the arrow and let it live. But by next Christmas, there were no signs of flowering activity, just a few bunny-ear-leaves sadly hanging from the pot. So I realized that there is a good chance that to bloom, this plant needs a bit more care than just watering.

It turned out that to make amaryllis bloom again, you pretty much need to kill it in summer (at least that’s how it felt to me). Armed with new knowledge, sometime in July I cut all the leaves, put the poor little thing in a dark cool closet and quit watering it. In November, I pulled out a ghost. The plant had one long white leaf that would shiver from any kind of air vibration. I cut it off and started waiting for gorgeous red flowers to come. By Christmas, my amaryllis produced two leaves. They were green, but that was it.

I was disappointed but wasn’t ready to give up. I figured that since it didn’t bloom on schedule, it might still bloom some other time. So I kept experimenting, alternating different types of feeds, with total desert-style periods in cold dark room or on a windowsill.

As time was passing by, I slowly forgot about it. It was sitting by the window facing the generous Saskatchewan sun with its long palms-leaves. I would water it once in a while along with the other five plants I have in the house, but I hardly thought of it or did anything else for it anymore. It was on its own.

At the end of last year, for my birthday, husband brought me an amazing flower bouquet. The cascade of roses, carnations, ferns and other flowers and plants was topped off with a simple little note on a stick. It said “I love you.” Some flowers dried within the next few days, others died within the next couple of weeks. Every time I reorganized the bouquet, I kept the note in it.

The time came and there were only ferns left in the vase. We were getting ready to go on a holiday. I was cleaning the kitchen trying to organize everything for the time when we are gone. What was left of my bouquet ended up in the garbage, but for some reason, I didn’t want to throw that note away (it wasn’t really sentimental, I just didn’t want to). So as it was on a stick, I put it in the pot with my amaryllis. And we left. 

After being gone for almost a month I came back to find an arrow coming out of my forgotten friend. I moved it away from the window and placed it in the middle of the table. A week later the first mesmerizing flower opened petals. In a few more days it was fully blooming, filling the room with its inner light.

The husband came home that day, noticed the little piece of paper with his handwriting on it and said, “Seems that I got you some flowers.” (I do sometimes buy myself flowers from him). He didn’t realize it was my resurrected old friend. I told him the story of this amazing plant. He left and I kept looking at it. The note caught my eyes again and it struck me. It was the note, the content of it that became that vital element that the amaryllis was lacking all this time to keep blooming.

I was so excited about that discovery, that I was ready to hug the plant. But instead, I gave a big hug to my husband.

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