CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Most amaryllis bulbs are spent by January, ready to be put into hibernation after greeting the Christmas season with trumpet-bell blossoms in glorious colors. At Jan Hargate's house, it's a different story.
"I bring them into the light around the middle of January," Hargate explained. She's been enjoying her bulbs for many years with great success.
"I started with the amaryllis in the '70s. My oldest bulb is dated 1977 and is still growing in the original pot!" Hargate said. "That's unusual. Most often they move up to larger pots with age."
The 1977 bulb is "Beautiful Lady." Amaryllis is named after a shepherdess in classic Greek literature and the species name belladonna means "beautiful lady."
Hargate's collection comes to bloom in March or April, depending on whether the early-spring weather is sunny or rainy. The blooms are staggered, putting on a show for weeks. There are white, red, coral, red and white, orange - the colors are as amazing as the huge blooms.
"Counting up on my fingers I have at least 15 different varieties, many no longer on the market because I've had the bulbs so long," Hargate said.
"Maria Goretti, Christmas Star, Minerva, Pink Diamond, Flamingo Star, green mini, an unnamed orange, Apricot Sensation, Dutch Bell, Queen of the Pinks, Ludwig Salmon Red, Grand Cru, an apple blossom, a pink African, and Charisma," she listed. "Right now I would say that my very favorite is Charisma."
The West Virginia Department of Culture and History will host its annual Garden Festival 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cultural Center. Workshops on a variety of topics are free and open to the public. Talks include "The Healing Plant" by Dr. Hassan Amjad; "Herbal Paths to Wellness and Healing" by Sue Cosgrove; "Making Healing Salves for Garden Hands" by Melissa Dennison; "Design Concepts for the Healing Garden" by Tim Forren; "Gardening: One Archaeologist's Perspective" by Andrea Keller; "Dirt Therapy for the Soul" by Debby Meadows; and "Gardening with Birds" by Scott Shalaway.
For information, call 304-558-0220 or visit www.wvculture.org.