Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Amaryllis Project

This weekend, while my sister Beth visited from Virginia (that's her in the photo), our amaryllis sent up their first leaves. We were amazed by their rapid growth, and Beth took it upon herself to record how much higher they reached every few hours. I remember my high school trigonometry teacher, Mrs. Hutchison, bringing an amaryllis into the classroom so we could track its development on a graph and see if the curve was exponential. It wasn't, but the project was memorable - it made abstract math tangible.

This project is more of the gardening/horticulturist type. Last summer our parish pastor got transferred to another parish with a rectory, so he enlisted David and I in helping him clear unneeded items out of his apartment. We inherited several bags of frozen food, pantry goods, and household items. David also said yes to Father's four amaryllis plants with their long leaves (the blossoms having long ago withered). I was not so enthused about the green monsters taking over my little porch. However, like Father, I have a soft spot in my heart for plants. So I researched amaryllis cultivation and followed the recommendations: let them go all summer, soaking up the rays and recharging their bulbs. Then trim the leaves, remove the bulbs to a dark, dry place (I put them in a shoebox on a shelf), and let them lie dormant for at least 8 weeks - unfortunately, I didn't do this in time for a Christmas bloom, so I decided to try for Easter. Take the bulbs out and replant them. Pray they grow and bloom (my addition).

To my delight, three of the amaryllis are making their way heavenward. I'm afraid the one with the fewest roots won't make it. We'll share pictures if everything goes well - with you and with Father. We hope he'll be pleased.

If you've grown amaryllis before, we'd appreciate your suggestions in the comments!


Adam said...

Maybe if you labeled each plant with some positive encouragement to grow that would help.

And you could use the schnazzy new labelmaker.

Beth said...

I agree with Adam:) Speak kindly to them and don't forget to measure!

Jules said...

You could make it two projects in one and use the music theory. Soothing one plant with soft, classical music and rockin' it out to another seeing if music effects the growth of plants.
There is a song about that (rather humorous I have to say) and the growth of plants always make me think of that :)