THE FUCHSIAS ARE STILL ABLOOM on the Nuthatch deck this first of February. We’ve yet to experience a killing frost this winter. For weeks on end, it seems, our temperatures have been stuck in the 40s. No really frigid nights, no unseasonably warm days like we often experience at least once in January. This week, just plain damp and cold. Cold-ish, anyway.
The fuchsias aren’t as fat and happy with blossoms as in August, it’s true. Some leaves are dropping. Nor are birds swarming the feeders. We stopped filling them a couple weeks ago because of salmonella poisoning among songbirds up and down the West Coast. (Humans aren’t the only pandemic victims.) Right now, the real “wow” factor in our little world, its horizon shrunken by health threats, low clouds and drizzle, is the Amazing Amaryllis.
We’ve never grown an amaryllis before. This was a holiday gift from our island neighbor, farmer Monique, who presented several island friends with bulbs in pots attractively trimmed with moss and fir sprigs.
We got it around December 1, and for a good month it sat dormant. We weren’t certain it was going to do anything. I watered it once or twice, and waited. Around New Year’s Day, a green sprout showed. We moved it to a windowsill behind the kitchen sink.
A week into January, it decided to grow. And grow. And grow some more. By mid-month, it was like something from “Little Shop of Horrors,” an inch-thick green stalk seemingly ready to take over our kitchen. A kid named Jack might have planted it from a magic bean he got in trade for a cow.
Then it blossomed.
Now 30 inches tall, the Amazing Amaryllis is a glorious thing. Four massive, trumpet-shaped blooms, light pink with apricot-colored tiger stripes, each measure nine-inches top to bottom. Another stalk, topped by another bud, is on its way up.
February has arrived. We could still get massive snow. The fuchsias might finally go into the woodshed. For now, though, we have our own winter wonder, on the windowsill behind the sink. So far, it hasn’t popped the roof. But we’re keeping a close eye on it.
Another token of island friendship. Merci, Monique. (Did you have to trade a cow?)