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The waxed Amaryllis bulb: a catastrophically ugly and wasteful indoor gardening trend.
Like everything else, gardening has its trendy trends. Like all trends, some are benign, but many are stupid and silly and wasteful.
A big trend this season is the waxed Amaryllis bulb. A waxed Amaryllis bulb is exactly that - a healthy, years-old, ready-to-go Amaryllis bulb that has been coated with a thick layer of wax, trapping within the bulb just enough moisture and nutrients to allow it to germinate and bloom without any care at all – no water, no soil, no attention, no connection, and no love.
A waxed Amaryllis bulb is a bulb that has been embalmed. While the waxed bulb will bloom, it will do so only once, but the stress of such a lonely, disconnected life leaves the bulb completely depleted, and it then must be thrown away.
I have a few big problems with waxed Amaryllis bulbs.
A waxed bulb has just received a death sentence. This amazing, viable, intelligent, complete living system, once smothered in wax, will die very soon. Once done blooming, it’s spent, and gets tossed into the waste stream. I just hate that.
Why would we want to dumb down gardening to such an extreme that absolutely nothing must be done to make our gardens grow? No nurturing. No care. No connection. That makes me sad.
Waxed Amaryllis bulbs are ugly. If you haven’t seen one yet, check them out online. Ewww. They are usually sold with small metal stands that hold them upright. A bulb smothered in wax, speared onto a metal platform, sitting naked on a table. Yuk.
Gardening is about connecting. Every gardener takes pride in his or her efforts with plants, the successes and failures, perfecting strategies, propagating, and repeating growing cycles year after year. Half the pleasure of indoor gardening is lovingly watering and feeding our plants, plucking off dead roots and shoots, welcoming new growth, polishing leaves, checking for disease, and just visiting with our plants.
To be attentive to a developing plant is insanely satisfying. I couldn’t imagine wanting to garden without spending each day caring for the plants we’ve brought into our home.
Give me a pot of soil – earthy smelling and crumbly – to dig my fingers into. Give me the guesswork of watering enough, but not too much, feeding the right nutrients, providing life-giving light, and being responsible for making a plant happy and productive.
Don’t we know that gardening is about kinship? Contact with the world of the living? There’s where the greatest joy of gardening is found - in love and connection.
Live in peace.