Coaxing a beautiful bulb towards it’s beauty is what I will call, from here on out, Amaryllis Soul Care. Call me silly. Call me quirky. I don’t care. But when you are moving through a period of pain and suffering or a season of waiting and watching, when you are dealing with a time of barrenness and nothingness, one needs to take care of her soul. And in these past seven weeks I have been in such a place. So I decided to help bring this beauty to life…….
….and in doing so I have been cared for…..
…and as a result, I have been able to pour into the life of a friend whom I love, who needed me more than ever.
So as I sat alongside her, as I fed her kiddos while she went through surgery, as I finished up my semester at the seminary and waited to hear her biopsy report, I planted Amaryllis and Paperwhites as a way to care for self so I might love big and love well.
What is the purpose of caring for self? Is it for self or is it for something more? It depends. I think there is a lot of self care talk that borders on being self focused. I don’t want to be self focused. But I do want to be self aware, to know HOW I am living so I might learn to be transformed if need be.
Notice the different words here: focused or aware. I think being self-focused is concerning. Why would any of us want to stop with self? How boring and lonely this would be. I want more than self. I want the Other. For me the Other is Christ. And the Other is also those whom He loves, those in front of me. I’m not talking about becoming the savior of the world. That job belongs to Jesus. But I am talking about learning to grow in self awareness so that I might better live as Christ, and this involves some form of self care.
Paying attention to beauty is one of my major forms of self care. When I do, I am better able to take up the cross. When beauty is alongside me I can be alongside pain, alongside wounds and heartbreaks (those that are my own and those of my friends). I see Jesus doing this. He paid attention to that which was beautiful. He also rested and went away on occasion. He took sabbath so he could enter the crazy busy with a sabbath mind.
People sometimes poke fun at my hyper attention to gardening. I think this is because I talk mostly about the beauty of the plants, soil and sun. But I love gardening for so much more than this, and that would require a whole new article beyond this little one. I will say this: gardening = food. And food = less starvation. And poverty levels are high and more people are starving. Let me tell you people, gardening and teaching people to garden is gospel work. But I digress. Let me share with you how I grow Amaryllis. It’s easy. And it’s soul care.
Amaryllis Soul Care
How to Grow Amaryllis
- You need no prior experience in gardening or houseplant care. Growing an amaryllis bulb is fairly mindless, to be honest. It is considered one of the top indoor bulbs for many reasons, one being that it doesn’t need prior chilling. Can you plant these outdoors? Yes, but most of us in North America grow them inside.
- The bulbs are so cool. I think they look like onions.
- You can buy a kit, but I think you will better enjoy the bulbs you can find in a garden center. So go there and find their supply. Most bulbs come into garden centers in November. After January 1 you will probably find them 50% off.
- There are a lot of varieties of Amaryllis. The one pictured in this post is one of the oddest ones: Cybister Chico. If you look at pictures of Amaryllis on the web, you’ll see most pictures are of large flower heads, not much like the Cybister. I am drawn to odd, which is why I highlight the Cybister here in this article.
- Once you find your bulb, then get a pot that is a tad wider than your bulb and 2-3 times as deep as your bulb.
- Find some decent potting soil. Don’t over think this. Some websites will tell you to do a mixture of this or that. Oh don’t bother with this!
- Soak your bulb for 1 hour. If you have cow manure tea, soak it in that.
- After soaking the bulb, pot it up, using moistened potting soil. Allow the “shoulders” of the bulb to stick out the top of the soil.
- Once potted, water it well, but don’t water it much again until you see the sprout coming out of the bulb (this is about 2-3 weeks).
- Put in a warm sunny location.
- When you see that the bud(s) are getting ready to open up, diminish your watering and if it has been in direct light, put it in more indirect light. That helps the flower last longer.
- Be patient as it opens up. It takes a while. Enjoy the slow process. Each morning when you wake up go straight to the beauty and look what has emerged. It’s just darn cool people!
- Once the bulb is finished blooming, it will bloom again. After the bloom fades, cut off the tube and flower near the top of the bulb, but leave the green leaf foliage. If it doesn’t have green leaves, still cut off the bloom stem. Water on occasion, keeping it a tad on the dry side. When the leaves begin to grow (or if they are already present), begin to apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer. When frost is past, put your Amaryllis pot outside in a part-sunny place, maybe digging a bit of a hole in the ground for the pot to sit in. Continue to water and add fertilizer now and then. Before the first frost comes in the fall, move the pot indoors. Remove the bulb from the pot, snip off the roots and let it dry out in a warm dry place. You can leave the leaves on while it dries out, placing the bulb/leaf in the sun (to absorb a bit more energy). When the leaves are dead and the bulb is dry (5-8 weeks), the bulb can be repotted for another bloom cycle in November/December/January.
All this looks like work. It’s not. It’s called Coaxing Beauty or Amaryllis Soul Care. Trust me. Doing something like this just might help you better care for others. I think I cared for K better because of Amaryllis Soul Care. Just yesterday K looked at me and said, “I see you differently now.” She was referring to the increased love in our friendship. Because I cared for self, I was able to better love her. And I do have to say that in this situation while I was determined to put my hope in Christ, I also did get what I hoped for. That doesn’t always happen. But this time it did. I would have been grateful within any outcome. Yet I am so glad, this time, the outcome was healing. It’s ok K. You can celebrate now. You are healed. No cancer. None. Goodness, a miracle! Miracles deserve to be celebrated. Yes, sweet friend, we would have practiced gratitude no matter what. I get that tension. I do. And yet, I think it is OK for us to jump up and down and dance all around. You are AOK. Yay!
So…. Amaryllis Soul Care. There you have it. Let me share one more picture:
Amaryllis looks great alongside Paperwhites. Yes, I need to do a post on Paperwhites. I’ve been growing a lot of varieties this winter. I have some opinions I need to share! In the meantime, enjoy this photo of these two friends alongside one another. Can you hear the Paperwhite’s coaxing the Amaryllis along? I can. Grins!