Gardener's Notebook - Garden makes a fine memorial

The Yorkton and District Horticultural Society sends our deepest sympathy on the passing of Neil Thom.  Neil was very community-minded, and so very kind and generous in support of many small local organizations, like the horticultural society, in the paper. We will always be grateful for this kindness. To his wife Julianne and his family, we send our thoughts and prayers to you for comfort and peace. We know that Neil now enjoys the beauty and splendor of a heavenly garden, so magnificent that it is beyond our dreams. We wish him rest after a life well lived here, and the unending joy of Heaven forever. Thank you, Neil, God bless.

Gardeners, for all of us who have lost someone dear, let’s make a new year’s resolution to give them a living tribute: we can plant a special plant in our gardens this spring, do up a special container of meaningful plants that may have been favorites of our loved one, or simply have a vase with one or two blooms on our kitchen table any time of year.  There is something in plants that revitalizes us and our sad souls: the beauty and aroma can certainly lift a tired spirit.  Even the action of doing this kind of horticultural tribute will make us feel connected. We have a small vase of rosemary stems by the kitchen sink; rosemary is a plant of remembrance, and when I see it I think of everyone who I love and am missing.

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Sometimes tears come, but often there are happy memories that lift my heart. In my mind’s eye I can see Mom puttering out in her garden, wearing that precious little straw hat she always used to wear, with a gentle, pleased smile on her face. For her, time in her garden was already heaven. It is one of my many most-loved memories of her.

Here is another. Mom always said “you never stop learning”, and indeed, she always made time to read gardening books or magazines. Keith always brought her all kinds of beautiful gardening magazines that she read, enjoyed, and kept for years. So here is a question that she would enjoy researching. A dear friend of ours asked this interesting question the other day: where do amaryllis bulbs comes from? Think about it. I had no idea, so time for some homework!

I read that there are actually several ways to propagate amaryllis.  And for us gardeners, they all require patience as the first step! But if you are willing to give it a try, here they are.  You can watch for tiny bulbs that form on your main large amaryllis bulb. Choose the largest of these baby bulbs, and plant it up, treating it like any other bulb with water and light. Remember, though, amaryllis bulbs like to be cozy and potbound, so you may not be transplanting them till several years have gone by. But when and if the time comes and you find a baby bulb, this is one method.

If you want to try something that will take several years, you can wait for seeds to form and plant these. It may be a fun experiment but there is no guarantee that the eventual plant will bloom and look like the parent plant.  

Another method, if you feel brave to try it, is to cut the original amaryllis bulb into several sections. Gosh, could you do it? But if you care to try it, cut the bulb, treat each piece with a fungicide powder, then plant them up individually in soil that drains well, keep them out of direct sun, and be patient and hope that they sprout.

So, if we are feeling adventurous, we can enlarge our amaryllis family! Or we can leave it to the pros and just get exciting new bulbs to add to our collection! Visit us at www.yorktonhort.ca, and have a great week!  

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