Does this introduce a show? Well, yes, on our balcony! Arriving back in Oak Park May 18, we moved from basement to balcony the flower pots we had moved from balcony to basement when departing for Scottsdale just prior to Thanksgiving in November. The basement is an underground garage that, in addition to parking space for cars, provides small dark spaces for storage of condo overflow, stuff saved instead of discarded. The pots stored in our assigned space contained remains of amaryllis plants that had bid adieu to summer as cool fall weather signaled the oncoming arrival of winter. Here, in darkness and without water or warmth, they had “rested” for about six months. But by some magic, they had read the calendar correctly. Spring was knocking at their door, and they began to live again. A tiny spike, pure white, emerged from the dry soil surface of each pot.

Returned to the balcony, treated to water and light, they celebrated. Tiny white spikes quickly changed color, first to pale brown, then rich green as chlorophyll dominated and grew at an amazing pace in both thickness and height, forming tubes an inch or more in diameter and a yard long in the short time span of two weeks, more than 2 inches per day.

Flowers! Real attention getters! Atop each stem, four giant blossoms. And color, the reddest of red; blossoms 7 inches across and 5 inches deep, and inside, six prominent anthers and the stigma. One flower stem, there’s one in every crowd, outshined all the others. It grew inches taller and had five blossoms, and color, so red it was almost black.

With one of my wife’s tiny paint brushes, I spread pollen from stamen to stigma. Seed? Long shot! Could happen. Probably no. On the balcony, sun, showers, breeze, the blossoms hold forth about a week. Six months rest, one week show. Good fit for retirement schedule. Rerun next year.

Ernest Baughman
Oak Park

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