This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
(Continued from page 133).
A florist told me he had discovered the secret of blooming them well, which was to give the bulbs plenty of sun and regular heat; and I agree as to the regularity of the heat being one of the causes of bloom, as at times when we could not command this, the buds, which had partially emerged from the bulb, would remain stationary, or, after several spasmodic growths, decayed. Some rare varieties, and seedlings, caused me keen regret by this failure to develop the beauty I was anticipating. Had I known then that hot water was so efficacious in their treatment, I might not have failed so ignominiously. They are sometimes, however, very accommodating. I have bought them in bud, removed them from the pot, and at a point of my journey re-potted them, again removed them to resume travel, and at the end of the route again potted them, when they resumed the process and finished blooming as if undisturbed. I state this that buyers may not be discouraged from purchasing or sending for them, if it is desirable, at their blooming time.
For a grand show of bloom and large dowers, I still prefer large pots for the Amaryllis, and an undisturbed state of the roots - except for top-dressing - for two or three years. A more gorgeous sight than a stand of these in bloom can seldom be seen, even among flowers. I have seen crowds before a window thus adorned; and those who had carped at a partiality for " the odd bulbs," stand silenced before an unexpected sight of these in their royal beauty: for " Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these".
To raise Amaryllis from seed is not difficult. If the seed is well developed they all come up with vigor. If intended to bloom early they should not be disturbed. I did not know this in time to save my thrifty seedlings. I did not kill them, but they did not bloom, their vigor being decreased by the frequent re-potting given them, without care as to disturbing the soil about the roots. One florist I know of, put his Amaryllis seed into a pan and let them remain till they bloomed; this was in three years. They were of the orange variety, forming a greenish white star in the center.
My Amaryllis seed were sown in pots, in winter, and placed behind a stove. They came up in two weeks, but one or two seeds failing out of the whole. This seed was obtained from Dreer, and said to be Van Houtte's. Another set was raised from seed matured on one of my own bulbs (the rosy salmon, with a white stripe in each petal, shaded oft* with maroon red pen-cilings) obtained from Mr. Fairly, of Baltimore. I cut off all the seed pods but one, which ripened in about a month's time, and was full of good seed. I raised thirty seedlings and gave as many more seed away. At a florist's in Baltimore I saw several pods maturing on one stem. I doubted the result which did prove disastrous, as every pod failed. Another one. however, having his plants in a warm, sunny corner, over a flue, had all the pods mature. They were on a bulb which came directly from South America, and with a number like it, were pulled up from among the rocks by sailors. The handsomest varieties of the Amaryllis I have seen, were most of them, unnamed.
The Johnsonii, a crimson scarlet, with a white stripe down each petal, is one of the easiest to cultivate, and few surpass it in heauty when well cultivated. Next to this, for constancy of bloom, is one (obtained of T. Fairly, of Baltimore,) said to be the anlica, though all the catalogues describe the aulica as bearing two flowers, of a crimson and green color. This aulica is of a rosy salmon pink, with a white stripe down each petal, which is shaded at each side with delicate pencilings of a maroon red. When in full vigor, it bears two stems a yard high, with six blossoms on each stem. It is then regal in its beauty. A very rich deep velvety crimson flower, with a white stripe down each petal, was bought of T. Fairly, and was said to be a seedling raised in Baltimore. I called it King's Beauty. It glowed with richness, and seemed to radiate with beauty, when I first beheld it.
Several orange colored Amaryllis I have seen in great beauty, bearing from two to four flowers on a stem. One very large flowered kind, was treated with very rich earth, and had chicken manure sprinkled around the edge of the pot, that was previously covered with fine coal - anthracite - which is said to promote the health of the bulb. Meteor, a very rich orange scarlet variety, was obtained of Geo. Such. It had two stems with four flowers on each. From him I obtained, also, the Reticulata striatifolia, having a short green leaf, with a white stripe in the center, and bearing pink flowers. This is a tender evergreen variety, and said to have very handsome flowers.
The Vittata is another handsome variety, varying a great deal as to beauty, some having an ungraceful flower and others very beautifully shaped. One rosy pink seedling, obtained of J. Feast, was the handsomest flower I ever saw of the light varieties. It is said the hybrids are endless.
The fall-blooming kinds do not show so many fine varieties. The Tettuii, Aulica, and a name, less one, with a broad disc and rich velvety scarlet petals, are all that I can praise. The Tettuii is of a bright scarlet, veined and shaded with maroon. The Aulica is of dull scarlet shaded with green. One variety I saw, called Aulica, had immense bulbs and flowers, but was coarse looking and not desirable for the house.