An empty pot. It didn't used to be an empty pot. Nope. There was a flower in it at one time. It was part of the potted garden that I tend in the courtyard in front of our house. This particular potted plant was gifted to me by a friend, which makes it all the sadder. The plant was entrusted to me and I failed it. :(
I received the thing that was in this pot a little more than two years ago and actually not only kept it alive but thriving that entire time. Until now. Which makes it sound as if it keeled over unexpectedly and overnight and that isn't the case at all. I've been messing around with it for the last month trying to help it out as it, quite obviously, wasn't feeling tip top.
The gift was an amaryllis. If you are unfamiliar with them, when they bloom they look like this:
Very Very Pretty! They only bloom once a year and generally you find the bulbs for sale in a kit of sorts around Christmas time. By following the kit directions, you put it in a pot with soil, keep the soil moist, set it in a sunny (but not too sunny) spot and then let it grow. And grow it does! That stalk just gets taller and taller and taller every day necessitating turning the pot a quarter turn every day. The plant seeks the sun y'see and will lean toward those sunbeams, so unless you want your plant to fall over entirely, you do the quarter turn thing to keep it standing upright.
It's a wonderfully bright spot of colour and a spring sort of attitude during a long gloomy winter (in many places - not here) and I'm marginally more familiar with amaryllis than most other plants because my mother used to give me one every year. And every year I would bring it to full glorious bloom and then after all too short a time, the party was over, the blooms were gone and I was left with a bulb that I had no idea what to do with.
I did my research (of course I did) and found that the bulbs could be "wintered" in a cool dark place and then restarted the next year! I followed the instructions to the absolute letter and it never once worked out. Never once! Dang! So basically every Amaryllis my mother gave me was a one year bloomer and then I may as well have tossed it.
Now that we live here, I was thinking, it's an entirely different story! According to the lore I read, these Amaryllis bulbs can carry forward for as many as 75 years! Holy Cats! The first year it bloomed beautifully and was the star of the courtyard garden for a few weeks and then I did what I was supposed to do, I trimmed it back a bit and kept it healthy. This second year it looked good, it looked really good in fact and I was sure that we would get another gorgeous bloom right up until it started to not look so good. Dang.
So I did what I always do, I experimented. Usually it's one of four things: more sun, less sun, more water, less water. Occasionally blooming things require a little boost from fertilizer. I have found that used coffee grounds make a great fertilizer (my hibiscus LOVES that) so occasionally I would sprinkle a teensy bit of that. But this time, no matter what I did, my amaryllis just looked less and less healthy and less and less happy. Awwwwww :(
Then it occurred to me (sometimes I'm a little slow) that perhaps it just needs to be repotted. And I had another much larger pot that was only holding a fern. I could do a switcheroo. I got excited and got ready to move the amaryllis from the smaller pot. BUT I could not get the damned thing out. Usually if you loosen around the edges a bit, turn it upside down and give it a good whack and it thumps out easily. But nope. There was simply no movement at all. And that should have been my first clue. Ratz.
So I started removing the soil, little by little (I didn't want to accidentally damage anything) and eventually the problem was revealed. The poor thing was so root bound that the roots were completely totally and entirely filling the pot. I mean wall to wall! I felt terrible. Poor Amaryllis. It was like Cinderella's Step Sisters trying to squeeze their feet into the little glass slippers! No Wonder it was dying! What a terrible Plant Mom I am!
Eventually, I coaxed the Amaryllis bulb out of the small pot but now the question was, should I put it in the bigger pot? Or what else could I possibly do ? I hmmmmmed about it to myself for a bit and then decided to go for it. I wanted to give my poor little plant as much room as possible to spread it's little roots, so I dug a hole on the other, unpaved, side of the courtyard under the palm tree that the woodpeckers put their nest. It's clearly a friendly tree.
In theory it should work. Or at least, in theory it has a chance of working. I, personally, have not had terrific luck putting plants into the ground and keeping them alive here. I've received numerous plants as gifts since we arrived and every dang one of them has gone belly up. Or it it roots up? Either way, it didn't work.
As it is right now, the Amaryllis was at deaths door anyway. I tried to give it the best chance possible. If it works, it works, if it doesn't, well I tried my best. Every day I check on it and debate, is there a little more green showing? Does it look better? Does it look worse? I guess time will tell.
And in the meantime, I now have an empty pot that needs something in it. I guess I need to find something else. Perhaps something more rugged, something less particular, something less apt to die. Maybe I need to plant fake flowers?
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.