Spectacular blooms can be so rewarding for us gardeners

Hippeastrum in flower. Picture by Tom Pattinson
Hippeastrum in flower. Picture by Tom Pattinson

Cultivating plants can be so rewarding one minute, yet frustrating the next.

Despite this, the activity remains universally popular and people I meet often speak fondly of its therapeutic nature.

You don’t need a plot of land to call yourself a gardener or enjoy the thrill of growing something to perfection, the title can be applied to anyone who cares for plants.

It’s amazing how much pleasure can be derived from growing a single potted specimen on a window sill.

A good example of this is the hippeastrum (amaryllis lily) which arrives gift-wrapped in a presentation box complete with container and compost. All the recipient need do is pot it up, apply water occasionally, keep it in the light and monitor development.

The lady of the house started one off in January and we’ve watched twin flowering stems grow 30 centimetres high. The spectacular blooms are opening and this gardener’s enjoying the moment.

When the flowers eventually fade we remove them to stop seed pods forming then let the stems die back naturally. This helps beef-up the bulbs for next year, so does feeding for a month or so after flowering. Then we withdraw water, encouraging the strap-like leaves to die back and give the bulb a rest until the year’s end.