A seed library operates just like your local library, but instead of stocking books it carries vegetable, annual and perennial seeds. The idea behind them is to encourage seed saving, the exchange of seed history, nurture new gardeners, exchange gardening information and build communities through seeds. Seed libraries are also great ways to acquire heirloom and open pollinated seeds. The biggest benefit though of a seed library, in my opinion, is how it can help foster a feeling of community among people who may have little else in common.
Hippeastrum, say it out loud, Hippeastrum. What an ugly name for an Amaryllis, right? Hippeastrum is a genus in the Amaryllidaceae family. Depending on the source Hippeastrum means either "horseman's star," "knight's star" or "horse's Star". Why? Nobody really knows. What the experts, fancy gardeners and botanists know is that Amaryllis isn't the proper name for these bulbs, and yet we persist on using the name. Maybe it is because the word sounds as beautiful as the blooms look. 'Lemon Lime' is my latest Amaryllis to bloom and it looks remarkably like my 'Mont Blanc,' but greener. 'Lemon Lime' is one of the "green" hybrid Amaryllis bulbs, the coloration and shape of the bloom can vary from bulb to bulb.
This week I attended the Mid-America Horticultural Trade Show and saw number of really cool garden products and plants. The highlight of the event was the garden writers luncheon hosted by Proven Winners and Spring Meadow Nursery with a presentation by Tom Carruth of Weeks Roses. If you're a rosarian Tom probably doesn't need an introduction. For those gardeners, like me, for whom roses aren't an obsession, Tom Carruth has been described as "King of the roses" for creating more All-America roses than any other living hybridizer. I should note here that hybrids in the rose world don’t have the same stigma as they do in the annual and vegetable world. Hybrid roses make rose growing possible for people who live in areas that aren’t ideal living conditions for roses. These roses are usually heartier, bloom more prolifically, and are less prone to diseases.
I find the tropical bulbs commonly referred to as Amaryllis to be almost the perfect houseplant for any indoor gardener. I can't sing the praises of the Amaryllis enough. Well, technically of the Hippeastrum, but Amaryllis just sounds so much nicer. The inflorescence-flower stalk-emerges from a bulb and puts on a showy display of exotic, colorful flowers. If pollinated, the blooms can produce seeds pods, otherwise the flowers wither and die and are replaced by strappy green leaves. Once you've observed that first bloom, of even the most common Amaryllis bulb, you'll be left wanting more. Over the past few years I've collected several bulbs and my latest is "Charisma."