Amazing Amaryllis

Spring is around the corner, just a few months and several snowfalls away.  The seed catalogues are piled around the house with pages folded over to remind me of the variety of tomato I want to plant this year; and on the window ledge an amaryllis bravely nods merry encouragement to me.  The amaryllis is a Christmas gift that arrived in a box with all the fixings to create something beautiful.  There was a bulb, a plastic pot, instructions, and growing medium.  For those of you who don't garden, growing medium is not a weight gaining fortuneteller; it is a fancy name for soil or a soil substitute.

Within a week of Christmas I had that bulb tucked into the growing medium in the plastic pot, sitting on the windowsill doing whatever it is that bulbs in soil do when you water them and give them a chance to get some sunshine.  Everyone should grow an amaryllis sometime in their life; there is not much that is more satisfying than helping and watching something or someone grow into their full potential.  The amaryllis is my daily reminder that spring is coming and a fantastic reminder of what is possible given the right environment and a bit of encouragement.

Last week the amaryllis was a very very long stalk with one bud on it.  Imagine a two and a half foot tall green stalk coming out of a small plastic pot.  Every day or two I turned the pot on the windowsill because that stalk was bound and determined to grow toward the sunlight which is wonderful except that if you don't turn the pot periodically you wind up with a lop sided plant; one that is really good at leaning over to one side.  Shall we say - not very well rounded?  Being a little off kilter can be interesting, the only problem is that being off kilter when the enormous blossoms open can cause the amaryllis to collapse to one side.  My duty as the resident nurturer is to expose every angle of the amaryllis to the sun, strengthening the stalk and helping it to prepare to bear the blossoms atop a strong straight stalk.

I wish I had measured the stalk at the start and end of every day because it seemed like it grew several
inches a day.  I swear that thing grew while my back was turned to load the dishwasher.  Sometime during the last week it stopped reaching for the ceiling so insistently and began putting all its energy into developing two flower buds and a sturdier stem.  Everyday I kept up the routine, turning the pot a quarter turn, checking the dryness of the soil, and making sure it had the best chance to bloom.

The routine paid off, with two gigantic blossoms that are giving me so much pleasure this week and triggering parallelisms in my brain between the plant world and my people world.  Who is in our lives that we can help grow straight and strong?  Who is sitting on the windowsill languishing because they need a little watering and a little love?  Who do I know who needs someone else to tell them how beautifully they are living?