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Gardening Zen

I am so intrigued by the prospect of making my amaryllis plant produce blooms again. When I unearthed it from the pot it's been sitting in all these months to inspect the damage (I am horribly guilty of neglecting the poor thing for over a year), I saw not only the bulb is still firm and full of life, but the roots appeared to be in good shape too. I re-potted it right back in the same container with the same dirt, but I'll have to re-pot it with new dirt, and possibly a new container very soon.

Yesterday I went to Target's garden center to buy gloves, a watering can, and plant food (I swear I feel so Delvian right now, hee hee) and had to ask the gentleman working there a question, and wound up asking him if I'm on the right track to reviving my amaryllis plant. Well I wound up asking him a LOT of questions because it turns out he is quite knowledgeable! He was quite friendly and unassuming, and seemed to be in a permanent good mood. I now know what his secret is for that too: he gardens. Frank is his name, and he told me how he got started gardening in the first place - he said he used to live in Chicago and worked a "high-stress job" (his words). He said he would come home and jump down his wife's throat. Well one day he came home from work and before even going into the house he went straight to the yard and began pulling up weeds. He kept that up for a while and among other things his co-workers noticed he was much calmer. Frank laughed when he told me they asked him if he started "taking" anything. I laughed at that too.

Now his garden produces pretty much everything he might buy at the store: bananas (I was particularly impressed by that), strawberries, pineapple, tomatoes, onions, herbs, and a list of other things he rattled off that I forget just now. He told me they make their own spaghetti sauce; he then added, "Once you eat your own spaghetti sauce, from the tomatoes and herbs and spices you grow in your own garden ... " he shook his head: "You won't eat that store-bought stuff again!" Then he laughed again. I replied with, "I don't doubt it."

I continued asking him question after question, everything that's come up out of what the reading doesn't answer, and he answered me. Cheerfully.

I saw tomato plants among other things there, which reminded me of the admonition by Ashton Ritchie I just read a day or two ago to "go to your local garden center, pick out some vegetable plants ... and plant them." I mentioned this to Frank and told him of my desire to "plant a salad" in a great big container based on the idea I got from that container gardening book I have. He told me to just buy a garbage can, cut holes in the sides, and put plants all over the thing! And I realized I could probably greatly reduce my trips to the grocery store practically for free if I spend any significant amount of time picking this guy's brain!

I did go outside and spend a short amount of time with my amaryllis bulb. Then I found a website while searching for images of amaryllis that said I should not add plant food to a bulb that has no leaves because that could kill it. Hm. Too late for that now, but we'll see. This is Florida, after all, and you can grow pretty much everything here. Perhaps the weather will work in my favor for this one.

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