Jim McKenney jamesamckenney@verizon.net
Tue, 18 Sep 2012 05:29:16 PDT
Watching the development of a scape of  ×Amarcrinum over the last few weeks has been a real pleasure. It's growing in the ground, in the garden, not in a pot, and in a sense that makes all the difference. It's made itself at home here, is a part of the garden, not something in a pot which requires continual fiddling and some uncertainty about its permanence. 

And as garden hardy amaryllids go, it's a big deal: the flowers compare favorably with those of the crinum I've grown here, yet the overall plant is much tidier. The thick, garnet scape has a sapid quality: something about it whets my appetite (although I assume that like most amaryllids it's poisonous). It has reached the point now where the first flower buds are poking out of the spathe, and the color of the buds harmonizes well with the color of the scape. 
The fact that it is blooming now when the temperatures are gradually dropping will allow the flowers to persist for a while, unlike  those of the crinums which  bloom during the heat of summer and which often prove to be literally ephemeral. 

There might be one potential complaint about this plant: the ×Amarcrinum I have here are from two different sources. The plant which bloomed last year (not the same plant as the one blooming this year) was magnificent until the flowers started to open. Then as more flowers were opening the scape continued to elongate; it wasn't long before the scape first began to arc and eventually began to droop under the weight of the inflorescence. At that stage it was not a pretty sight. 

I'm hoping that this year's plant has more spine! It already measures 33" (83.8 cm) from the ground to the tip of the topmost bud. 

I have not been able to flower Amaryllis belladonna here, but now that I've seen ×Amarcrinum in action in the garden, I no longer feel the need for Amaryllis so strongly. 
Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, 39.021954º North, 77.052102º West, USDA zone 7
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