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Here we are, the last of January. Here in northeastern Pennsylvania, the daylight minutes are noticeably more and the light is a bit brighter. We’ve enjoyed some brilliant sunrises in the past week. The near-blizzard that hit New York and Boston over the weekend paid us a glancing blow, with just a couple inches of new snow and a very windy day. Eight inches of accumulated snow blanket my yard, and it has been seasonable cold, with a few undeniably bitter days. It’s a great time to enjoy some indoor blooms!

Amaryllis ‘Blushing Bride’

Hippeastrum amaryllis ‘Blushing Bride’ opened about a week ago. This is a Symphony variety of Christmas blooming amaryllis, meaning it came from the southern hemisphere (in this case, South Africa). In practical terms, this means it comes to bloom more quickly than a Dutch bulb. I planted ‘Blushing Bride’ on December 20, and her first flower opened just over five weeks later, on January 25.

‘Blushing Bride’ just opening

I would describe ‘Blushing Bride’s’ hue as carnation pink, with deeper pink to raspberry striations, and a lovely green apple throat. She is not nearly as delicate in shade as ‘Apple Blossom’.

Amaryllis ‘Blushing Bride’s’ flowers are about seven inches across

This amaryllis is relatively short and stocky, with the first bloom stalk topping out at thirteen inches. Her flowers are large, at seven inches wide. This bulb is giving me two bloom stalks. If I’m lucky, a third may appear (bulbs from Scheepers often have three!), but there’s no sign of it yet. The first stalk has six flowers, with two still to open.

Two stalks!
Two more blossoms on the way!

Besides ‘Blushing Bride’, a few of my African violets are flowering. I don’t know any of their names; most were impulse buys at the grocery store!

They seem to do well at my house in an east-northeast facing window. They see very little direct sunlight, but lots and lots of indirect bright light.

When I re-pot them, I use soil made specifically for African violets, and I prefer to put them in clay pots because I feel I can control their moisture levels better that way. I water them about once a week, when the pots feel light, and always from the bottom. I fill the saucer once and watch the water quickly disappear up into the soil. Then I fill it a second time, and occasionally even a third! If there’s still water in the saucer an hour or two later, I dump it in the sink. Like most plants, these babies do not want to sit in water!

The other thing I do for them is feed them a fertilizer formulated for African violets. In theory, I give them a pellet every two weeks; in practice it is probably nearer every three! I even have a reminder in my phone! This is the fertilizer I like to use:

It makes me very happy to enter my living room and see my grandmother’s marble-topped table filled with these gorgeous blossoms! (I didn’t mention the pink Kalanchoe, but it was yet another grocery store impulse buy–I guess I shouldn’t shop when I’m flower-hungry, LOL!)

February promises to be a colorful month. The buds on my walking iris are growing taller and plumper by the day, and I have at least three more amaryllises that should bloom soon. I can’t wait to show them off!