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Apple Blossom Amaryllis

January 17th, 2017

Growing up, I remember that my dad always gave my mom an amaryllis bulb for Christmas. She’d plant them and we’d have bright red amaryllises blooming in the house in February. This year, my parents gave both my and my sister bulbs. I planted mine as soon as I got home and it started blooming last week. (note that we celebrate Christmas the week after Thanksgiving when we are in Ohio, so I planted this in early December).
apple blossom amaryllis
It’s quite a bloom and it brings lots of color to the upstairs garden. I have it in a bright window by the grow lights with a wide variety of other plants. My mom always kept her bulbs and they rebloomed year after year. I may or may not keep mine, I haven’t decided yet.

Do you grow amaryllises for winter color?

The Parade of Tulips

April 23rd, 2012

I promised a parade of tulips when every single one had finally bloomed. Last week the last of the later tulips opened. Barring any extreme heat, the blooms will last for a couple more weeks. All-in-all, I should get over 2 months of beauty. There were a few glorious days when all the varieties I planted were blooming at the same time.

Just in case you’re wondering how I kept track of the tulips I planted, I cut the photos/names from the catalog and pasted them on a piece of paper grouping them by order of bloom. This gave me a handy chart to quickly be able to identify what was blooming. It also came in handy when making my order so I knew which tulips I was buying so I didn’t end up with all late flowering tulips.


‘Rai’ parrot tulip, a beautiful dark pink/purple and green parrot tulip. I only purchased 8 bulbs for this and they were planted in a pot by the back door. Parrot tulips are just as interesting in bud form as they are when in full bloom. This is the first time I’ve had parrot tulips in the garden and I must say, I’ll always have some from now on! (I won’t relist the Parrot King tulip, you can see this post if you’d like to see them).

All of the bulbs listed below were purchased from Van Engelen in lots of 50 or 100. I’ll include their description of the tulips after the name. The tulips will also be listed in the order in which they bloomed in the garden.

Blooming first was ‘Passionale’, which I’ve had in the garden for many years. Described as: huge, lilac-purple tulip has dark purple flames on the outside of its petals while the inside of the petals is beetroot-purple with a tawny-yellow base. Bulb size: 12cm/up. April/May. 16″


Along with ‘Passionale’ the ‘Rembrandt’s Favorite’ tulip bloomed as well. They make a perfect combo! This tulip is described as: a mutation out of Hans Anrud, this strong and sturdy bicolor is glistening snow-white with deep blueberry-purple flames. Bulb size: 12 cm/up. Late April. 22″


‘Pimpernel’ is a lovely lily flowering tulips, one of two varieties I planted. Rich purplish-red with green featherings. Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 16″. HZ: 3-7.


‘China Pink’ One of the most popular of all Lily Flowering Tulips, this award-winner has lustrous, soft pink flowers with a white base. Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 18″.

‘Cum Laude’ circa 1944, Cum Laude is dark campanula-violet with a white base. Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 24″.


‘Virichic’ this jaunty beauty has an elegant, almost Lily-like form and exotic coloration. It opens dreamy pale rose with tawny yellow highlights and green flames and matures to a darker purplish-pink with green flames. Bulb size: 12 cm/up. May. 18”.


‘Greenland’ Also known as Groenland, this award-winner is a charming old rose color with soft green stripes from the flower’s base to its tips. Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 20″.

‘Green Wave’ A terrific cut flower, this sport of Greenland is pastel mauve-pink with green flames and an exterior white base. Watch how wide it opens! Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 20″


‘Elegant Lady’ Subtly changing colors as its blooms mature, this beauty has pale creamy-yellow flowers edged in soft violet-red. Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 24″. HZ: 3-7.

‘Queen of the Night’ is a deep velvety-maroon, appearing as glistening black in the sunlight. Circa 1940, this award-winner is still the “blackest” tulip to date. Bulb size: 12cm/up. May. 24″. I have grown this variety of tulip for many years here at Chiot’s Run and it’s the one tulip that I find that doesn’t get eaten by various deer. The black color must make them bitter or something. There have been years when this is the only tulip to bloom in my garden.

I think my favorite combination from this year was ‘Queen of the Night’ and ‘Elegant Lady’. I planted these two varieties in a few clumps in the front foundation bed and I think they’re perfectly stunning together.

I also have a few other kinds of tulips that bloom throughout the garden that I planted a few years ago. I definitely gravitate towards the purple/pink/green range when it comes to flower colors. I’m not sure if I could pick a favorite, it might be ‘Queen of the Night’ or it might be ‘Green Wave’. I’m certainly happy I don’t have to choose!

Which of these do you like the best?

Plant Spotlight: Erythronium Pagoda

April 17th, 2012

Somewhere in my reading I came across the Erythronium or the dogtooth violet. I can’t remember for sure where, maybe in a wildflower book. If I had to guess it would be from one of the books written by Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd, most likely I read about it in A Year at North Hill : Four Seasons in a Vermont Garden. It doesn’t really matter where I found out about it, I’m just glad I did.

I ordered bulbs for erythronium ‘Pagoda’ last fall and they arrived nestled in one of the boxes of my 2500 bulb order. I double checked my invoice with the included items, everything had arrived and I didn’t think about these boxes in the garage for a few days. When unpacking and organzing the bulbs a week later, I noticed the pack of Erythronium said “PLANT NOW!” (yes in all caps with an exclamation point- oooops). I grabbed by trowel and planted most of them in the east facing side flowerbed and a few in the north facing bed by the back door.


Erythroniums are native to the Northern Hemisphere and prefer forest and meadows with slightly acidic soil. They can take part to full shade which is one of the reasons I purchased them. Being surrounded on three sides by very large trees, I have an abundance of shade here at Chiot’s Run. I’m often struggling to find something besides hostas that will thrive in the shady corners of the garden. Since there are forest natives I knew they’d love the conditions in those beds, they are essentially just like the forrest floor.


This little plant isn’t of the viola family even though it’s nickname suggest it, it’s of the lily family (Liliaceae). It’s nickname “Dog Tooth Violet” comes from the corms which are white and shaped like a dog’s tooth. It also has a host of other nicknames as well.  Sadly, I didn’t take any photos of the corms when I planted them so I can’t show you what they look like. You’ll have to take my word that they did in fact look like giant canine teeth.

Erythronium is usually grown as an ornamental garden plant, but it’s also edible. The leaves and flowers may be consumed raw or boiled. The corm can also be ground and used as a starch.  From my research, it was often used for making thin noodles.  In Japan the ground corms are used to thicken sauces and make tempura. It’s been used medicinally as well, the leaves can be dried and used in teas, or they can be crushed and used as a poultice. It is high in alph-methylene-butyrolactone which prevents cell mutation and may help fight cancer.  Native American Indian women were said to use the raw leaves as a contraceptive, Roman soldiers used it for foot related issues and it was used throughout the ages as a diuretic, fever reducer, to treat gout, to aid in decongestion, and to help reduce ulcers and shrink tumors.

I won’t be eating mine any time soon, I want them to multiply and grow into lovely little patches. You can believe I’ll be trying to find a few other varieties, which are different sizes and colors, to add to the garden though and when I get a good patch going I’ll try eating them in a variety of ways.

Have you found any new and interesting plants recently?

Make it Green Please

January 19th, 2012

My mom’s always had amaryllises blooming around Christmas ever since I can remember. It was no different this year, she has quite a collection of bulbs that she’s had for a very long time. She even has a few that she’s grown from seed from blooms she hand pollinated a few years ago.


Her amaryllises have always tend towards the red and salmon shades, nice, but not my cup of tea. I prefer something green or maybe white, so I purchased three different kinds of amaryllis bulbs this past fall when I ordered all those tulips, daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs.

I ordered ‘Baby Doll’, ‘Green Dragon’, and ‘Evergreen’ amaryllis bulbs, three of each. I gave one of each to my mom and planted the remaining six bulbs in pots. The ‘Evergreen’ started blooming earlier this week and it’s quite lovely; this is not my mother’s amaryllis. It’s perfectly green, just like I was hoping.  My mom, who dislikes green flowers with a passion, didn’t like the green one, but the white ones she said were “OK”.  I guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, but it does fall from the tree!




Can you believe this is the first amaryllis I’ve ever had? It seems like they’re one of those intro to gardening plants that everyone has grown before.

Do you grow amaryllises? What’s your favorite color?

If you’re looking for great prices on amaryllis bulbs of all colors, shapes and sizes try visiting Van Engelen. They sell in lots of three bulbs, but generally getting three bulbs is cheaper than buying one from other places. Give the other bulbs away as gifts, or find a gardener to go in on the purchase with you. They do have a sister company that sells in single bulb lots, John Scheepers.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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