Bonus Blooms

A good Amaryllis/Hippeastrum bulb will bloom twice.

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If you peek in the boxes from most “big box” stores the contents look like half a bulb because they split them.

My replacement Exotica bulb sent up a stalk of the usual four blooms last month.

It has bloomed another time with six blooms on the second stalk.

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Really lovely colors, markings and shapes.

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This one’s a keeper.

FLOWER

The REAL Exotica Bloomed Correctly

The replacement bulb for Amaryllis Exotica has bloomed.

It has the expected color and striations.

The apricot color definitely has a red shimmer in it.

I feel sorry for the original bulb, which will now be stuck with the name,

BLOOMED INCORRECTLY, from now on.

They are both lovely. Both will be cared for, nurtured and loved.

Though only one has a pedigree.

FLOWER (Plant Mama)

Subtle Beauty

I do love an occasional screaming flower.

But my heart belongs to the quiet ones.

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The ones with the dainty detail, that makes you look twice and pause.

Like this Picotee Amaryllis.

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Yes it is white, but with a green throat and a hint of red around the margins.

Beside the screaming red and white “incorrect bloomer”, it may be overlooked.

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But let it stand quietly alone, it inspires awe.

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FLOWER

Cut Flowers

Were you expecting an arrangement in a vase?

You forget.  I am a biologist.

So when I cut a flower, I cut up a flower.

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I removed the two sets of 3 petals from the base.

Then, I cut longitudinally into the green calyx and ovary to expose the seed-forming tissues.

Here’s a little lesson in flower parts.

The long, single pistil is the female part.

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The top end of the pistil is called the stigma. It is sticky to capture pollen that lands on it.

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Cutting the ovary in half exposes the developing seeds.

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The six stamen produce yellow pollen on the ends. Pollen acts like dust if you shake or touch it.

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Pollen looks like rice on 40x.

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Pollen is also sticky and sometimes stains clothing. That’s why some florists cut off the stamen. Ouch!

The petal coloring shows up in cells looking like pixels on 40x.

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red and white petal on 10x

Don’t get mad at me for dissecting my Amaryllis flower.

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Your Valentine’s bouquet will die, too.  Might as well learn something before you toss it out.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

Time-lapse Flower

Watching an amaryllis bloom is like a lesson in life.

The first day, it emerges from the sheath, which falls away like a plant placenta.IMG_7452

The second day, it opens up to reveal that there are two sets of twin flowers.

The larger two will open first. They are opposite each other on the stalk, for balance.Featured Image -- 2016

Color begins to blush through the petals as they stretch away from each other.

They are making room for their dazzling, dancing dresses.

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The third day, the ruffled and wrinkled big sister buds smooth out their frocks.

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On the fourth day, the little sisters begin to grin and show their purple stamen teeth and pistil tongue.

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While the two big sisters fling back their petals to expose their shiny, bright faces.

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Then they flush with a final burst of color. Like getting prepped for the party of life.

Standing up straight and facing the new day with a fresh face.

FOLLOW the developing FLOWER.

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P.S. This is my Monte Carlo blooming for the second time since Christmas.

Post-Holiday Plant Rescue

I can’t stand to see a plant suffer.

Shopping after the holidays is particularly painful, because I know that any “gift” plants left in the stores will die a dry and sunless death.

This year I rescued two, tiny, Norfolk Island Pines that were covered in glitter. One of these was given to my sister. The other is recovering  nicely with me.

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Norfolk Island Pine/ Araucaria heterophylla

It really perked up when I replanted it. I tried to remove the glitter, but it would not wash off.

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The other rescue was an Minerva amaryllis bulb in a box. (Did anyone see those dipped in colored wax? )

I had all ready been given a Minerva, which has sprouted several inches since Christmas. When I saw this one crammed onto a clearance shelf, I knew its days were numbered.

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I brought it home, wet it down and peeled back some of the many dried, brown layers.  It stayed white for almost a week, but finally a little hint of green is showing at the top.

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I just couldn’t bring myself to rescue any of the spray-painted cacti.

Who are these people?

Follow the push-over Flower.

(Don’t anybody dare drop a puppy off at my driveway!)