Q: This Christmas I received a potted amaryllis bulb from my granddaughter, which she bought at Walmart. I have never experienced an amaryllis this prolific. It’s been amazing with four flower stalks and a total of 17 flowers between Jan. 9 and 31. I thought on a wintry day, perhaps a pretty flower photo for your column might be appropriate. — Susan Clambey, Moorhead. A: Thanks, Susan, for sharing a truly outstanding amaryllis story. Most of us consider ourselves lucky if our amaryllis produces two stalks, or three if we’re lucky, but four stalks is superb.
Q: I’ve tried growing sweet pea flowers, but by the middle of summer the vines turn brown and begin to die before many flowers are produced. Do you have any idea what’s wrong? I love the fragrance of sweet peas, and I’m disappointed I can’t get them to grow. — Amy B., Jamestown, N.D. A: Sweet peas bring back wonderful memories, as my mother always planted them along the wire fence that surrounded our garden, and that’s where I first learned her recipe for success. A recent article by Cornell University reaffirms her old-time sweet pea wisdom.
There was a time when pot was either a container in which you made soup or grew flowers. It’s wise to choose our words more carefully now. If I ask about your pot preference, I should clarify that I’m wondering whether you like clay, plastic or ceramic for your dieffenbachia.
FARGO -- We need to unmask an impostor. Before we do, I’d like to explain why I save things. In trying the minimalism trend, I reduced the pile of sawed-off two-by-four ends I was saving in case I needed them for something someday. And we shortened our stack of old Cool Whip containers that could have refrigerated a century’s worth of leftovers.
Q: Our willow tree has a 4-foot-long crack in the trunk. Is there anything we can do to prevent this from further damaging the tree? I’ve heard that you can bolt them or wrap straps around the trunk to slow the crack progression. The crack opens wider in winter, and closes in summer. — Matt Maresh, Pekin, N.D.
I haven't been this excited since our amaryllis sent up three flower stalks instead of one. I'll bet you've noticed the trend in our communities, also. What's the stir? A resurgence in vegetable gardening, especially noticeable this time of year when plants are lush and large. The increased interest in raising vegetables is pretty obvious, and a quick drive around town shows more gardening, both public and private.