Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh! There's A Bevy of Naked Ladies in My Garden...

This morning we were greeted by a bevy of naked ladies in our garden. Blushing pink and scented with the most delightful perfume, they had been waiting eagerly to be invited into our home as if it’s the most natural thing for us to do. Of course it was the most natural thing to do. Besides we had just heard a storm warning in today’s morning news and Sydney and the Blue Mountain and its surroundings had been lashed with cyclonic rain and unprecedented flash flooding this summer. How could we leave these damsels out in the open to face the impending storm? Anyone would have done the same thing and invite them into their home without a second thought. They are gently ushered into the living room so that we can introduce them to anyone who comes to visit us for the next few days.

Here’s the introduction.

Our naked ladies are also known as Amaryllis belladonna plants and bulbs. Our pink flowering Amaryllis Belladonna is a particularly attractive form which bears a cluster of 4 to 12 funnel-shaped flowers at the end of their stalks and like its white relative will reach a height of about 75cm. The pinkish fragrant flowers appear on a bare stalk without the foliage, hence the name (Belladonna actually means beautiful lady).

Late in spring, long leaves appear, then die back down to the bulb. The bulb produces clusters of fragrant 75mm long trumpet shaped flowers ranging from white to pinkish in colour in mid-summer to autumn.

The naked ladies are easy to please and do not mind if they have not been pampered while growing in the garden. The cultivation of Amaryllis belladonna requires very little attention. Amaryllis belladonna can be grown from seed or from clumps of bulbs divided from the mother bulb during the dormant period. The bulbs must be planted with their necks at soil level. The belladonna can either be grown in large pots in the veranda using a very porous soil mix or grown in a sunny position in the garden. You will be rewarded and enjoy the gorgeous annual visit these damsels provide for your garden or home.

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