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Amaryllis bulb grown in water for years prepares to bloom again

A flower stem emerges. The taller bottom framework of the new patio door required a taller temporary stand for my water-grown bulb. Sometimes life seems really hard. Like when the second day of spring is marked by a snow emergency, and that comes about a week after someone in a big SUV makes a bad turn and wipes out your trusty Toyota.


On such days, being alive to see the falling snow and your pet plant preparing for another year of bloom offers a reason to be thankful and  hopeful.


To catch up any first-timers, my pet amaryllis bulb, Leafy, has been growing mostly indoors and always in plain water since December 2014.


Last summer, I was advised to give some direct outdoor sunlight to the leaves that came after my 'Double King' amayllis bulb's third flowering. I was also advised to put in fertilizer with water changes for this well-rooted bulb. I kept forgetting.


So I decided to see if only giving the bulb's leaves some days of outdoor air and sunlight would improve what I hope will be this year's flowering.


I snipped off the bulb's last withered leaf on Feb. 1, about two months later than usual. The leaves usually begin to wither in early fall, and I am wondering if their lasting longer is a product of increased sunlight.


At the beginning of March, I looked down into the bulb's top and saw the first signs of a flower stem emerging.  In the March 12 photo shown, Leafy is displaying a characteristic purple blush on the tip of a sturdy purple stem. Yes, Leafy, is a handsome plant.


This year, I promise to begin fertilizer as soon as any flowering has passed. I'll also keep more detailed records and try to post more frequently.


In the meantime, does anyone have a nice car to sell?



Ask Dr. Barb: Questioning behavior in wake of "Me Too"

Dr. Barbara RosenbergDear Dr. Barb:


With accusations against men in many fields and the rise of the “Me Too” movement, many of us have been examining our behavior. I’ve had a predilection for making mildly off-color quips, which I’ve resolved to end. I’ve also resolved to never again discuss with male co-workers which female co-workers are the “hottest.” I’m a married man in my late 50s, and most men in my circle believe a lot of good is coming out of this movement. What’s bothering me, though, is thoughts of my past. When I first started dating, I do remember being aggressive. I’m not talking about harassment or worse; I’ve always known that “no” means no. I’m talking about what I thought were the normal fumblings of a young man who is trying to be intimate with a woman. I’ve always thought we were “wired” as men to be the pursuers, and women were the pursued. Dr. Barb, I’d be interested in hearing you weigh in on this topic as a professional and as a woman of my generation.

Dear Reader:


Thank you for sharing your thoughts about how the “Me Too” movement is encouraging you, as well as other men, to examine your attitudes and actions towards women. It’s never easy to look back at one’s life experiences and acknowledge that, knowingly or unknowingly, you were enabling sexist beliefs about women and at times your off-color jokes were demeaning of them.


However, even in your earlier dating years, when you were somewhat aggressive and unsure of yourself with women, it is good to know that you respected their feelings about saying “no.”


Unfortunately, there are men who manipulate and exploit women sexually in order to satisfy their own narcissistic and pathological needs for power. In these kinds of situations, whereby women are sexually assaulted or coerced into such behavior beyond their will, the assault is less about sex and more about control, and the female becomes the forcible target of the male’s psychopathology.

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Forcing amaryllis bulbs in water for repeat bloom: A Leafy update 

My 'Double King' amaryllis bulb in a Nov. 2017 photo and a Nov. 2016 photo (right). The shorter 2017 leaves, I believe, resulted from days outside.

I have been growing the same 'Double King' amaryllis bulb in plain water since December 2014. It has become a pet houseplant, named Leafy, and it has flowered each spring (three seasons) since then with diligent weekly water changes.

This winter, I didn't have time to experiment with forcing hyacinths in water or forcing tulips in water, so I'm really counting on Leafy to bloom again this year.  

As promised in a post months ago, I called up Hans Langeveld from Longfield Gardens in Lakewood for tips on improving Leafy's health, as the lone survivor of three amaryllis bulbs I got from his nursery in 2014.

The conversation took place way back in June, and I took notes on this expert grower's advice. 

But I didn't do most of what he advised for various reasons. 'Splash' and 'Magnum' gone, but not forgotten.


For one thing, he suggested that in the fall I chop off the very leaves that give the bulb its name to put Leafy into dormancy. (Pipe up shock-horror music recalling how I previously killed the other two amaryllis bulbs trying to do just that.)


But the first thing he wanted me to do was to plant Leafy outside.


“You don't want to go back to soil?” he asked almost incredulously with his gentle lingering accent.

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Interior design withdrawal: How to pick the perfect chandelier

Photo by Wheeler Kearns Architects - More contemporary dining room photos

It's time to buy a new chandelier, and the choices are overwhelming.

So many shapes and styles and light sources. It helps to narrow things down. Are you attracted to ornate lighting dripping with rows of sparkling crystals? Or do your tastes run more toward angular forms – lights anchored within square lantern shapes or arranged upon linear frames? Advances in LED lighting have brought us so many options that resemble abstract art.


What follows is visual exploration of why certain styles work in their room.

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Spiralizer leftovers recipe: tri-color sweet potato hash browns 

The slender leftover finger of Japanese purple sweet potato (shown) and similar fingers of white-flesh Japanese sweet potato and plain orange sweet potato are what we want for tri-color hash browns.Hand spiralizers, at least every one that I've seen, always leave a long, thin pieces that peeve some people. Not me. I think having a rounded uniform length of vegetables can lead to all sorts of creative fun. 

Think of pretty, colorful coins in soups and salads. Today I made sweet potato hash out of three colors of sweet potato. I had previously used a length of parsnip in the recipe. The slightly-sweet root veggie is a good complement for sweet potatoes.

This time I used a run-of-the-mill regular sweet potato and two types of Japanese sweet potato: one with reddish-purple skin and pale flesh and one with dusty reddish-purple skin and deep purple flesh. It's shown in the photo. 

When I first began testing hand spiralizers, I hand-processed (cut?) spirals from a purple flesh sweet potato. It was easy work because I had picked out the longest thinnest one I could find. I forgot that I had done that.

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