As week ago, as we opened the curtains on a brittle, glittery, frozen world, I saw that the first of my amaryllis for this year, the appropriately named Hippeastrum “Rapido”, had reached the beautiful stage of unfurling that resembles nothing so much as a cooked lobster, with two long red claws ready to snap.
It’s a “teetering on the edge” stage of the flower; one moment all you have is a tightly wrapped bud with only a hint of colour at the tip as the leaves peel back, the next the trumpets are out, loudly proclaiming their arrival to all sorts of frozen plants and chilly birds if they’d only care to listen.
I love its energy. You feel that even the slighted touch might dislodge the precarious coil of blooms and launch them out, probably with an audible pop.
Five days later (these are pictures from Thursday when we actually saw some direct sunshine rather than gazing at it from within a canopy of raindrops) the flowers are out out out.
I often plant my amaryllis in early November to carry us through the dark days of December, and to have something pretty to look at when the Christmas tree comes down, but this year forgetfulness and the surprisingly brisk passage of time meant that I hadn’t even planted my bulbs by the new year so this year they herald the return of the sun. Well some of the time, this is still England after all.
In the morning sunshine, how can this glow not warm your heart? The pots have had a relocate too for this year. In previous years they’ve sat on a pretty red spotty tea towel in a chunky white row along my lounge windowsill which whilst technically south facing, south faces the north side of a hill, and can often do with a little injection of brightness on a dreek day. This year the windowsill is one of the few places still out of Kitty’s reach (for now!) and harbours a pot of pens, three candlesticks, photos of our Bamboo babies, a couple of small ornaments and the pots that H and I threw at a pottery workshop at Art in Action the summer before Kitty was born.
The amaryllis were ousted upstairs to join some fellow ‘lounge refugees’ on our bedroom windowsill and it’s going to take some doing to persuade me they should go back. I mean, who wouldn’t want to wake up to this:
The view from my pillow (once I’d put my glasses on) 16 February 2012.
A note on bulbs: I usually internet order my amaryllis and tulip bulbs from Peter Nyssen in the autumn (for pictures look in January archives on Knitted Bear and of course the header) but this year’s trio came from a trip to Webbs. The selection in January at Webbs wasn’t as good as Peter Nyssen in October (“no really Carie!”) and it’s always a little pricier to shop in person rather than from a mail order wholesaler but they’ve all started shooting for the sky, we just need to wait and see the colours of the other two.