Amazing Amaryllis, Hot House Exibition By Liz Bradley

by Sue

Amaryllis bulbs came originally from the Andes mountains of Latin America, so it was a fascinating to see examples of these plants in portrait at the Oriel Exibition in Llangefni.

The name "amaryllis" means sparkling or horseman's star, and it was first discovered in 1828 on a plant hunting expedition to Chile.

These amazing huge bulbs can make brilliant winter house plants and can apparently flower for up to 75 years, if you possess green fingers, treat them right and live long enough.

Amaryllis can be bought in most supermarkets or from specialist suppliers on the web. They can be grown one to a pot or look magnificent if planted several to a bowl like hyacinth bulbs.

Having seen these bulbs for years in shops and given them to other people, Liz Bradley had an idea of growing them for herself.

It was great fun, she recalls, and she is now addicted to the activity. Why is this?

Well, Liz says the flowers and buds are wonderful to paint, with their brilliant colours and huge simple heavy blooms.

Their portraits form the basis of her current exhibition at Oriel in Llangefni.

Called Hot House, the exhibition features orchids and streptocarpus as well as amaryllis.

After such a wet, grey summer, vibrant and colourful hot house plants like these are just what is needed to brighten up our homes over the long winter months on Anglesey and elsewhere.

Liz Bradley's exhibition is at the Oriel until March 2009.

Extra: Amaryllis Growing tips:

Another name for this bulb is Hippeastrum. They are very easy to grow and they make perfect gifts, if you can bring yourself to give them away.

Soak the bulb in a bowl of tepid water for a couple of hours, before potting it up into bulb fibre or multi purpose compost, leaving about a third of the bulb showing.

Water it thoroughly, then place in a cool room with plenty of light. As soon as the shoot develops, start feeding your plant once a week, and support the shoot with a cane when it reaches about 30cm.

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