Now is the time to protect outside plants

Stinking Creek News

Some of us who work closely with nature realize we are facing another drastic change—the end of the growing season for this year. That means the end to most gardening including vegetables, fruits and even flowers. It also means most of the weeds turn brown and fall over. That is a big thing this year due to the rainy season that produced a bumper crop of weeds, so we are glad to say goodbye to them.

This is also a special time for house gardeners because now is the time to protect the outside house plants against the cold. Some people like to prolong the season by covering them and let them stay out through Indian summer. But I had special help last Tuesday, a warm sunny day.

Sarah Smith, 9 years old, Charity, 7 and Jacob, 4, helped me “bring in” my collection and hobby of 15 potted amaryllis plants which spent the summer growing large, long green leaves under the large poplar tree east of my house. The greenery almost dwarfed my little helpers but they were game. We stored them away for the next stage in a dry, cool and dark place to let those green leaves die slowly back.

The nest stage is to separate the babies, the new bulbs developed during the summer, and give them their own pot. Then during the cold dark months of winter I plan to bring two or three out into the light and give them water and food. As soon as the new growth appears they get a warm sunny spot to send up that spike that will produce a large showy blossom, maybe even four or six of them. If I bring out two or three new pots every three weeks I just might have several months of cheery flowers that can be quite a “picker-upper” in the spring months. After they bloom I label them and let them begin to produce new babies or bulbs. It is amazing how many new plants can be produced that way.

But newcomers to the amaryllis hobby beware—each step is very important. It takes time, record keeping and lots of patience to have two to three weeks of beautiful flowers. But isn’t that true in so many things in our lives. There are so many wonderful things in each season if we learn to live with nature.