Amaryllis Boo-Boo: From Wallflower to Supermodel

Amaryllis Triptych

Amaryllis.  With a name like that, I should have known she was destined for stardom — but who could have anticipated any such thing on the Christmas morning that she arrived on my doorstep?


Tough-skinned and bulbous, she confessed that she dreamt of becoming a supermodel.  I didn’t want to doubt her or to crush her esteem and drive, but I worried that she didn’t have what it took to be America’s next big thing.  I tried to talk sense to her, to help her see that modeling is a world built on rejection, to help her realize that there’s nothing wrong with being a mildly attractive bulb — but Amaryllis pressed on.  She assured me that she could be whatever she put her mind to — all I needed to do was to give her a place to grow so she could establish roots.

Amaryllis 3

I did as she instructed.  I placed her in a pot of soil, provided her with water, warmth, and light, and I carried her to my office since that’s where I spend the most time during the winter months.  There we sat, just the two of us.  Each day, I glanced over my right shoulder and saw Amaryllis, wearing her short green Mohawk like a verdant crown.


And then it happened.  It was as if some inner mechanism had come to life and Amaryllis changed overnight.  Her Mohawk stood a little taller — and by day’s end, it was taller still.  Could it be possible that Amaryllis had been correct all along, that beneath her stone-like surface there lurked a beauty?

That’s when my anxiety began to boil over.  It seemed that whenever I returned to my office — an hour or a day later — there was growth.  A green-gray stalk eventually pushed it’s way upward, joining the blade-like foliage — and at the tip of that stalk was a tight bud.  As the workday ended, I was hesitant to leave, afraid that I would miss each subtle change.


On an early Monday morning, I saw the seams of the bud had pulled apart, revealing swatches of red, tightly folded but eager to unfurl.  Amaryllis was so eager to be photographed.  I advised her to wait, that there was no need to rush, but she insisted.  “I’ve waited long enough to emerge,” she told me and so she signed a contract for her first modeling job — as part of a Georgia O’Keeffe tribute.


Coworkers, onlookers, and gawkers arrived at the opening of the tribute — and I could hear the whispers.  “Is that?”  “How could she?”  “How could he allow Amaryllis to do this?”

Could anyone talk Amaryllis out of doing anything?  Did anyone have the strength or skill to stop her ambition?  No.  Simply put, Amaryllis was determined and focused.  Rather than defend myself or Amaryllis, I simply chose to believe that these photos were part of her artsy phase — I only hope the outtakes do not appear in a tabloid or tell-all biography.

Amaryllis, though, understood her appeal and the wants of her admirers.  They wanted more and no part of her was off limits.


As her beauty grew more apparent each day, modeling jobs lined up — and I admit, it was distracting to work with her in the same room.  Time and time again, I found myself looking over my shoulder to notice what had changed.  Time and time again, I found myself turning completely around to just stare.  I was mesmerized.  I was not only her caretaker; I was her number one fan — and I used my camera to capture each nuance.







Amaryllis loved the camera, often begging and beckoning to have every detail captured.  Velvety red petals and brilliant stamens called to passersby and — to paraphrase Roxy Hart from Chicago — they loved her, and she loved them, and they loved her for loving them, and she loved them for loving her, and they loved each other.  Sure, other models were jealous and tried to push Amaryllis out of the limelight, but she knew that this was her time — and she meant to relish every single second of it.



The modeling world is filled with women known by their first name: Naomi, Iman, Cindy, Gisele, Heidi, Linda,  Miranda, Tyra  . . .


. . . and now, Amaryllis.

38 thoughts on “Amaryllis Boo-Boo: From Wallflower to Supermodel

  1. My jumbo Amaryllis has eight blooms on it…only after it was taken out of soil, roots cleaned and bulb put in water/rocks…not a Christmas Amaryllis, but a Valentine Amaryllis…the wait was worth it! I think they are an amazing flower…love your timeline of it!

  2. Awe. Some.

    Ok Kevin, the flowers have died on my Amaryllis. Now what do I do with it???? I still have the long green stalks, but not more blood red bloom. What is a novice gardener like me to do?

    • Hi Ann. Glad you enjoyed the post and the photos. The triptych was a last minute idea. I had taken several similar photos using different tools on the camera. Instant triptych! 🙂

  3. She is a beauty — and it looks as though you have two flower stalks there! The two of mine that have sent up flower buds just started to open at the seams yesterday; excitement is in the air.

  4. Dear Kevin,
    I am LOL at this post! The photos are absolutely gorgeous and the story line wonderfully creative! I will NEVER look at my amaryillis quite the same way again – without smiling at the memory of your post! Thanks for the smiles first thing in the morning. 😀

  5. Hey Kevin – glad your Supermodel left you speechless! She sure is a stunner. Amaryllis is a pretty amazing flower – I’ve grown it a few times – the trick is timing their bloom for Christmas. I’ve only been successful once. Anyway – fun post and great shots. Thx!

  6. Hi Kevin, I’m glad your Lady in Red flowered for you, amaryllis are spectacular plants. And you are right, if you take care of it, you can get it to flower again next year. I had several amaryllis bulbs for up to 6 years before a particularly wet winter destroyed them all. I used to stick them outside during the summer and give them fertilizer when I gave the rest of my plants. In the autumn when it got colder, the leaves would die down completely and I would take the bulbs out of the pots, clean the roots and store them outside, frost free but cold until I decided to take the bulbs inside and pot up – and the cycle would start again. Definitely worth trying again, and every year the bulb will get bigger, with more flowers, if you make sure to feed it a bit during the summer.

    • Hi Helene. Thanks for the tips. I’ve had a gloxinia for years, but this is my first try with an amaryllis. I’m worried that I may become addicted to this flower — big and beautiful. I’ll do my best with this one.

  7. A Star is Born…another Academy Award reference! LOL! I agree with Helene…hold onto it and care for the bulb and you’ll be rewarded time and time again. Ours go out in the garden and can winter well, because they are dormant, and then they surprise us. You never know when they’ll bloom. Will it be Christmas or Easter? All depends on weather. But I’m supposing you’ll get some more bulbs in other colors now? Look for the ones that are white and pink, plant the bulb a little later and you’ll have a perfect spring flowering. Plant your red one a little earlier (later this year) and you’ll have a bloom for Christmas! You probably already know this, I just got excited! 🙂

    • Hi Erin. I’m so glad you found me and that you enjoyed the content. Coming from you, it means a lot since you’ve been instrumental in getting so many garden bloggers up and running on Blotanical. Thanks for commenting. Enjoy the day!

    • Hi Janice. I’m glad you like the photos, but I’ll need some information from you … Which specific photo? A cover for a blog? Webpage? Book? Let know when you get a chance. Thanks.

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