March 09, 2011

Gravity wins

At breakfast this morning, we admired the first of the three amaryllis flowers which had opened overnight. The petals were creamy, streaked with light red (not pink, mind you, light red). It hadn't opened all the way, only about half, so looking at it full on made me think more of trumpets then stars. The second flower probably would have opened tonight.

Amaryllises are ridiculous flowers. You take a bulb the size of a medium onion and put it in pot. Sometime later, it sends up a fat stalk and then unfurls huge, super-saturated flowers, roughly the size of a salad plate. There isn't much in terms of a supporting cast; it's all about the blossoms.

Maybe I should have moved the amaryllis out of the kitchen window. Maybe I should have tossed the cheap plastic pot that came with the bulb in favor of something with some heft to it.

The stalk on our amaryllis is about three feet tall. Three feet.. It wasn't straight, perhaps from reaching for the sun in a generally west-facing window blocked by the house next door. Once those gorgeous blooms started opening, it was officially off-balance. It didn't stand a chance against gravity. We found it on the kitchen floor at lunchtime, the flower spike bent in half, the two unopened buds broken off, the remaining flower somewhat crushed.

Caitlyn has tried to make the best of things by placing the broken buds and petals around the edge of the pot. But tomorrow, I'm going to have to put the remains in the compost, trim the flower spike down, and cross my fingers that sometime in the next two years, our amaryllis will try again. I just couldn't bring myself to do it today.

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