In November we had a garden club program given by a club member that inspired me to look deeper into the beautiful flower, amaryllis. The official name for an amaryllis is Hippeastrum and the names are most often used interchangeably.

At our meeting, we saw a You Tube Video by North Lawn Flower Farm @Northlawnflowerfarm and learned about an excellent source to purchase amaryllis bulbs. I found s ome wonderful, well priced plants from our local Produce Junction and a couple of more exotic bulbs from Longwood Gardens ‘s gift shop.

The plants are exciting to watch, long lasting, and with a little care can be stored after bloom for reblooming. The trick is to let the foliage die down and store the bulb in a dark place over the summer. It should be ready to re-emerge when winter comes the following year.

Arranging with amaryllis can be challenging and tall stems must be supported if they are in their pots. When purchasing cut amaryllis, stems needs be supported with a stake before putting the stem in water for conditioning. In an arrangement, the stakes may be cropped with the flower stem to the desired height.

A trip to the local Produce Junction brought home these three showy plants which graced my kitchen window for several weeks. Red twig dogwood Cornus sericia branches are placed into the dirt and flower stems tied with wool to the branches.

The most common amaryllis has a tall stem and showy, large red blossoms. There may be one, two, three, or four flower blooms on top of the stem and bulbs may also have up to four stems bursting from the single blub. They do not synchronize the the time frame to all bloom or burst at the same time which makes it challenging but also exciting to work with them.

From the Dutch flower market comes this exotic amaryllis ‘Cybister Tango.’ As cut flowers, each of these stems has a skewer intended for s’mores on a barbeque inserted into it. The pot is filled with FibreFloral design media and fresh greens of cryptomeria and golden holly make a base for the tall flower stems. Tall curly willow adds height and movement.

The ‘Cybister Tango’ blooms inspired this more decorative design with folds of paper that mirror the pattern of the berries in the glass vase. Shiny fatsia leaves and aspidistra contrast with textured cryptomeria and a few red berries.

An even more exotic bloom is the opulent, large, double bloom of ‘Artic Nymph.’ The stems were so huge and heavy that they were all split on arrival. This is why you only see the heads in the flower arrangement. Flowers and greens are held in three small glass vases with the support of hairpin holders as shown in my September 2023 ‘My Adventures’ column.

Another showy variety is the bi-color red and white. You can see from the picture on the right that each stem has multiple blooms which often open at different times. When one blossom looks tired, another will take its place until all of the blooms are gone.

Amaryllis do not need a lot of water and may be used in designs with simply a wedge of damp cotton plugged at the base of the stem. Here cotton is inserted into the bottom of the stem, a small bit of plastic covers the end of the stem, and then it is wrapped with wool for a decorative touch.

Here another wool wrapped stem hangs a tall silver vase in a cascading design. The close-up picture shows the wrapping of the flower stem as well as tubes wrapped in the same wool to repeat the mechanic. The tubes are held is a wire garland form which I wrote about in April 2021 ‘My Adventures.” The wire structure allows for smaller flowers to float downward in a cascade design and still have fresh water and heads facing upward.

This is only the beginning of my amaryllis/hippeastrum adventure and I look forward to learning more and working with them as both plants and with cut flowers. They will brighten the winter days and the bulbs will, hopefully, reappear next winter season. Happy holidays to all.