If I told you that the name of the most beautiful bulb you could grow was contrived from Greek words meaning “head of a horse,” then you probably could not conjure up the vision of an amaryllis. Known for being so exquisite in spring gardens in the South, the amaryllis’ botanical name is Hippeastrum, meaning “the head of a horse.”I assure you that it’s not Trigger, Roy Rogers’ horse. A show happens each spring just within sight of our fairy-like gazebo in the Cottage Garden that draws the attention of cameras and visitors like few other plants — it’s the ‘Wedding Dance’ amaryllis. It’s the perfect name for an amaryllis located at the site of almost weekly weddings.This hybrid amaryllis produces stalks that exhibit several enormous, pristine white flowers measuring up to 7 inches in width. Ours has been producing for weeks and, while most bulb catalogues and vendors suggest stalks 16 to 20 inches high, ours are sturdy and easily hitting 32 inches.Amaryllises, for the most part, are considered bulbs for zones 8 to 10, but ‘Wedding Dance’ can be grown in zone 7b and possibly colder zones, according to Tony Avent with Plant Delights Nursery. Avent commented that they endured -1 degree Fahrenheit in 1996.Here at the Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden at the Historic Bamboo Farm in Savannah, Georgia, we haven’t had temperatures nearly so challenging — 18 F a couple of years ago and 25 F this March after the garden was seven weeks ahead of schedule. The St. Joseph’s lily, Hippeastrum x johnsonii, produces deeply saturated red flowers with a pronounced white star and packs even more landscape cold tolerance.Gardeners all over the country can enjoy the amaryllis, whether in the landscape or as one of the most-loved Christmas plants forced indoors. Outdoors they prefer fertile, well-drained soil. Ours get morning sun and late-afternoon shade. In the landscape, we treat them much like narcissi. We will deadhead flowers and leave foliage until it wants to go dormant.Depending on where you live, you may buy yours for planting in a pot at Thanksgiving and celebrating the bloom at Christmas. Your soil mix should be light and airy. Whether going in the landscape or in a pot, plant it so that the neck and top of the bulb are in view. Place the pot in a window that gets morning sun and maintains moisture.After your amaryllis blooms, keep your plant growing until warm, frost-free temperatures arrive, then plant outdoors if you are in the proper hardiness zone. Otherwise, place your pot on the porch patio or deck and keep the foliage actively growing until it wants to go dormant in mid- to late summer. Bring your pot indoors before any chance of frost and remove leaves once they become dry and shriveled. They will need a two-month rest period before beginning the cycle again.Those grown in the landscape in warmer regions can be left in the bed for years without separating, digging or replanting. Once bulbs finally do get crowded, they can be lifted and separated, adding plants to other areas of the landscape. Ours are growing surrounded by ‘Blue Sue’ setcreasea or tradescantia, a wonderful blue-green form of ‘Purple Heart’ setcreasea.Ours are against a backdrop of the old-fashioned nandina that looks picturesque when you have the large, white flowers combined with red berries. The beauty would be even more dazzling if grown in front of hollies sporting red berries. I’ve basically only been touting ‘Wedding Dance,’ but know that there are hundreds of hybrids all with their own special attributes. You will most likely find them readily for sale in the fall. Make this the year you give them a try.Follow me on Twitter: @CGBGgardenguru. Learn more about the University of Georgia Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden at the Historic Bamboo Farm at www.coastalgeorgiabg.org/.
This contest is over. VIP Pass Package Elements:Festival AdmissionAccess to VIP Lounge with on-site concierge hostsAccess to VIP viewing areaVIP/ SVIP Entrance into the campgrounds with dedicated, hassle-free check-inVIP campground (On-site lodging accommodations including tent-only camping, car camping, and RV parking must be purchased in addition)Ample air-conditioned bathrooms with flushable toilets and showersInvitation to the Thursday Welcome BBQ**Fully catered brunch on Sunday**VIP cash bars with complimentary water and soft drinksComplimentary late night munchiesExclusive 2019 Lockn’ Festival Merchandise Items*Thursday Welcome BBQ is available with 4-Day VIP Festival Pass Only**Sunday catered brunch is exclusive to 4-Day VIP, 3-Day VIP, or 1-Day VIP on Sunday***1-Day VIP ticket holders will not have access to the VIP campground Rules and Regulations: Package must be redeemed within 1 year of winning date. Entries must be received by mail or through the www.blueridgeoutdoors.com contest sign-up page by 12:00 Midnight EST on March 30, 2019 – date subject to change. One entry per person. One winner per household. Sweepstakes open only to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 years of age or older. Void wherever prohibited by law. Families and employees of Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors are not eligible. No liability is assumed for lost, late, incomplete, inaccurate, non-delivered or misdirected mail, or misdirected e-mail, garbled, mis-transcribed, faulty or incomplete telephone transmissions, for technical hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connection, or failed, incomplete or delayed computer transmission or any human error which may occur in the receipt of processing of the entries in this Sweepstakes. By entering the sweepstakes, entrants agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and their promotional partners reserve the right to contact entrants multiple times with special information and offers. Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine reserves the right, at their sole discretion, to disqualify any individual who tampers with the entry process and to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Sweepstakes. Winners agree that Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine and participating sponsors, their subsidiaries, affiliates, agents and promotion agencies shall not be liable for injuries or losses of any kind resulting from acceptance of or use of prizes. No substitutions or redemption of cash, or transfer of prize permitted. Any taxes associated with winning any of the prizes detailed below will be paid by the winner. Winners agree to allow sponsors to use their name and pictures for purposes of promotion. Sponsors reserve the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value. All Federal, State and local laws and regulations apply. Selection of winner will be chosen at random at the Blue Ridge Outdoors office on or before March 30, 2019 – date and time subject to change. Odds of winning will be determined by the total number of eligible entries received. One entry per person.