Sometimes Plants Surprise Me: Garden Bloggers Bloom Day February 2017

– Posted in: What's up/blooming

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!

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~Albert Camus in Albert Camus quotations

Comments on this entry are closed.

commonweeder February 26, 2017, 3:24 pm

My amaryllis was almost blooming on bloom day, but I am enjoying it right now – especially considering how I’ve ignored it for the past year. And its ignored sister has started to seen up a bud shoot too. Tough plants, amaryllis.

Ian Lumsden February 24, 2017, 5:04 pm

Of all the photographs, the one with the line of glass vases containing rooting hyacinths on a window sill stands out. Something about the browns and glass. Lovely. Blogs provide ideas and with this I shall have a go at growing amaryllis bulbs again. Somehow I’ve lost the habit.

Ian Lumsden February 24, 2017, 5:02 pm

Of all the photographs, the one with line of glass vases containing rooting hyacinths on a window sill stands out. Something about the browns and glass. Lovely. Blogs provide ideas and with this I realsie I shall have a go at growing amaryllis bulbs. I used to and somehow I’ve lost the habit.

Michael February 22, 2017, 12:14 am

The old refridgerator is more like a storage box, not necessary at all, like you mentioned it. Interesting stuff. Keep up the good work 🙂

Diana February 21, 2017, 7:37 am

Is your orchid in a warm room? I want them to rebloom here, but I think my 150 year old house is too cold in the winter.

Kathy Purdy February 21, 2017, 8:14 am

Diana, my house is 130 years old. Before it bloomed, it was in the room that the woodstove is in, but on the other side of the room, up against a window. When I saw the flower stalk forming, I moved it to a cooler room. I haven’t watched this video yet, but I think it has more information than I can give you: Frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing right!

gail eichelberger February 18, 2017, 8:17 am

Kathy, your photos are a treat! Not having to take special care of your amaryllis is encouraging for me! I may have to buy some bulbs again. xo

RJ February 17, 2017, 9:08 pm

Re blooming orchid…wow, whats the secret? Amaryllis, force once, than let them do their thing in the spring.

Kathy Purdy February 17, 2017, 9:25 pm

I really don’t know what the secret is. I let water run through the pot once a week (when I remember). I keep it in an east-facing window. That’s it.

Pat Evans February 17, 2017, 10:25 am

Well my amaryllis haven’t rebloomed in years although they also haven’t died. I think they’ve had too much benigh neglect. But I have 6 phalanopsis orchids and all but one have faithfully rebloomed, including one which is rarely without a bloom year round. In western NY, no less. And my Thanksgiving/Christmas cacti almost all have two flushes of bloom. But boy do several of them need repotting.

Layanee February 17, 2017, 7:49 am

There is nothing more gratifying than an unexpected bloom. I have some Amaryllis re-blooming. I try to fertilize during the season….sometimes it happens! Enjoy!

Thomas @ Lawn Maintenance Company February 17, 2017, 6:10 am

My orchid went crazy last year, it bloomed 4 times and I understand your surprise. Congratulations for the beautiful plants!

Dee Nash February 16, 2017, 6:10 pm

That’s funny. This year all of my white hyacinths in the collection didn’t work. They molded. Most of the purple and pink ones were fine. I did lose two purple. I didn’t do anything different this year. Sometimes, things just don’t work. Other times you get rebloom on amaryllis. Ha! Happy Bloom Day my friend.~~Dee

Kathy February 16, 2017, 3:13 pm

Ah HA! You are another Amaryllis rule breaker with success! I never let my Amaryllis go dormant. I leave her out on the back steps all summer with generous watering and then subject it to a long, cold, then hot car ride down to Florida just to really confuse her. She goes outside again, and again with plenty of water. To my amazement she blooms faithfully every year! This year another stunning display that is just ending. I think we’re onto something Kathy. Maybe the Amaryllis marketers give false advice to trick gardeners into buying another Amaryllis that will be in bloom! Not that any gardener has to be coaxed to buy such a beautiful bloom. That one hyacinth is perfection and worth the other four together — beautiful! I sure do wish I could smell her. My Norfolk Pine who spends winter in my old cellar without heat actually looks spectacular before I bring him up into the house for summer. I think he prefers that damp, cool cellar! My Christmas? Easter? cactus is always blooming in that same dark, damp cellar when I return home in Spring. Plants really are surprising!

Beth @ PlantPostings February 16, 2017, 2:17 pm

Congratulations on the successes and the fun experiments! A re-blooming orchid: wow!

Linda B. February 16, 2017, 1:53 pm

Wow! That Amaryllis is gorgeous. Maybe I will give them a try again as I am doing well neglecting my orchid which is budding for the 3rd year in a row.

Carol February 16, 2017, 12:21 pm

A lovely bunch of blooms indoors. Thanks for sharing them for bloom day.

Leslie February 16, 2017, 11:18 am

You have done well to have so many blooms to brighten your winter! Happy Garden Blogger Bloom Day!