This year, one of the amaryllis bulbs given to us by Robert's Dad has decided to flower. It's always a little hit and miss whether or not I am doing the right things with these potted plants. Twice in the three years since we've had the bulbs, one of the flowers has bloomed, filling that corner of the house with a quiet thrill.
These flowers remind me of the poet Diane Wakoski. On the back of her book, 'Argonaut Rose', there is a picture of her with an amyrillis. Her gaze from behind a pair of very large glasses is enigmatic - as if she is the only one who really knows why the flower warrants more attention than she does.
Her title poem opens with the lines:
'What is the history
of this arm of a red lily that towers
out of its January pot, ready to bludgeon anyone
with its axe-handled crimson blade? ...'
I know I am a greenhouse pleb., but it is a puzzle to me why amaryllis are a December / January plant, whether you live in the northern or southern hemisphere ... You'd think the bulbs would know better. Daffodil ones do; in New Zealand, daffs. wouldn't dream of flowering in May as they do in the northern hemisphere. For Diane (an American poet) it is a plant that emblazons her winter. For me, it sucks up summer light, reflecting it back in determined and boastful triumph.