We're about half-way between when we planted our annual Christmas Amaryllis bulbs and the big day - December 25th - when I would (ideally) want blooms. This is a (partial) progress report showing the three newly acquired bulbs . Why just these three new ones (and not the bulbs that I kept from last year)? Because these are the ones that are showing action on the stalk growth and the three that are furthest along. All three of these bulbs were bought from Wannemakers in early/mid November and were planted up right around Nov 17th. That puts these three weeks from their first watering. And just over two weeks until Christmas Day. Will any of them bloom in time? First up is the Flamenco Queen Amaryllis . This is what I think is the most unique of the three - with green centers and white-speckled red petals. The leaves and first flower stalk are up out of the neck of the bulb, but not too much height so far. Photo of the mid-growth Flamenco Queen Christmas Amaryllis below
Showing posts with the label christmas traditions
We typically have a few plants and flower projects around Christmas and this year is no different. Most years, we do at least two kinds: amaryllis and a store-bought poinsettia for the kitchen. This year, we added a third thing: Paperwhite bulbs . We've had the typical poinsetta in most years. Usually red, sometimes white or more interesting coloring. But this year, we were at the orange big box store doing one of those kids projects when we wandered out into the nursery. That's where we saw a rack of something that looked *kinda* like a traditional poinsettia. But, was a little different. The 'petals' (which...are really just different colored leaves) were curled under. And were clustered on the top of the plant. What is this? Turns out, it is called a Winter Rose. It is a poinsettia. Just tweaked. Here's a few photos of the red Winter Rose: I pulled out the tag of the plant and it read this: Poinsettia. Euphorbia pulcherrima. So, it is a poin
We were over at Nat's folks house and (like they do EVERY YEAR), they had some Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale on hand ahead of the Christmas holidays. I've posted photos and details of this ' Special Ale ' over the years here on the blog where the beer is less interesting to me, but the drawings of the trees are what I'm drawn to when it comes to this annual Christmas beer. This year's beer is inspired by an Italian liqueur and features a drawing of a famous tree in San Francisco: a Blue Gum Eucalptus tree. From this post on NewSchoolBeer comes this description of the tree on the label : This year’s hand-drawn label features a Blue Gum Eucalyptus tree, a nod to Mary Ellen Pleasant – a 19th-century San Francisco entrepreneur, financier, abolitionist, and civil rights activist. Pleasant, who is recognized as the “Mother of Civil Rights in California” for her impact during gold-rush San Francisco, planted Blue Gum Eucalyptus trees outside her Pacific Heights mans
This past weekend, we went over to the local garden center to meet the Big Guy and his reindeer. We've done this same deal a number of years and it is a nice way to start the holiday season. In addition to having the kids visit with Santa for a few minutes, we also buy our annual allotment of Christmas flowers - Amaryllis bulbs. These bulbs are big and nicely cared for and (this year) cost $21 each. I'm pretty sure that when we started doing this, these bulbs were $15. This year, we're growing three new bulbs as well as attempting to force four from last year. I picked out one and two of the kids picked out their own, too. Below are the tags of the three we came home with: Flamenco Queen, Magic Touch and Sunshine Nymph. These bulbs come nicely packed with a little padding for protection. They're also MUCH larger than the bulbs you'd find in the typical packaged 'set' that includes a container, potting material and the bulb. MUCH larger. See bel
With the holidays (officially) winding down in our house and the decorations being tucked back into their tubs and boxes, I wanted to include in my Web diary a photo of our front yard Christmas tree and our blow mold Santa and three reindeer . I've done this in the past including a similar photo last year featuring the tree and Santa/reindeers . The front yard tree *is* a thing in Downers Grove, but that's not why we do it. We do it because of our time on Indiana Street in Elmhurst . We really loved that tradition, so we've kept it despite moving to Downers. This is the 11th year of documenting our front yard Christmas tree tradition - and 12th year of a front-yard photo. 2019 post was only of the blowmolds , so I'm not counting that in the 11 years. Here's our 2021 front yard tree featuring a fresh snow covering our tree and Santa/reindeer. Here's our 2020 front yard Christmas tree with Santa and his reindeer . Here's a photo of our Santa/reindeer f
The boy had a proper Christmas train setup this year with the basement being done. (or mostly done) You can see his setup (a large oval) with a steam O-gauge locomotive running with some rolling stock behind it. The tubs in the corner contain a few more pieces of track and cars that we didn't get to this year, but it still is a Christmas tradition. My Dad set up a Christmas train with me. And I'm setting up a Christmas train with the KotBTs. Here's last year's post - 2020 Christmas train . In our new house, this marks four years - 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 (now). There's a very short period of time these days for a boy to be interested in these model trains. With our train being O Gauge (larger than the most popular - these days at least - HO), I think that also limits the potential in these trains. HO (smaller) can pack A LOT more into a layout with the same footprint and the hobby is more well-formed for adults at that scale. You can go to hobby shop
It was just a few days ago that I posted a photo of some of the buds that had emerged on our Christmas Cactus and today that very cactus has the first bud that has opened and is VERY tropical-looking. The flower is white/(very) pale pink flower petals with a bright pink stalk that has emerged. (Is that the stamen? The pistil?). I'll be watching to see how these die back and if they need to be removed. In the photo below, you can see a few of the other buds that are growing up and out. The one on the far left is about to open while the others continue to get larger. I watered this thing in early this morning, but have to get read up on how much water it wants now that it is flowering.
Back in the middle of November, we moved ahead with our annual tradition of planting Amaryllis bulbs in an attempt to have some "Christmas Flowers". Here's the post showing all five of the bulbs (2 large ones, three smaller ones) planted in their containers from earlier this month. And, here's a post showing the tags of all three varieties of bulbs that we're going with this Winter . About 10-or-so days after planting and watering them in, we have some good news: all five of the bulbs have sprung to life. Some more than others. But, life in all five never-the-less. First up, the trio of Red Lion bulbs from Home Depot. These are the smaller ones. All three have taken off and are showing not just some foliage, but all three of them appear to be sending up their first flower bud out of the bulb. Those Red Lions are below: Next up, the Lemon Star. This is one of the larger ones from Wannemaker's and was the one I was most concerned about. While the
Earlier this week, I posted photos of the three tags of the Amaryllis bulbs that we selected for Christmas 2021 . We went with a few smaller, more common Red Lions and two larger (more expensive) flowers - one red/white (Sunshine Nymph) and the other one greenish (Lemon Star). That means that this year we have five total bulbs planted up. Below, is a look at all of them after a couple of days in the soil. The trio of Red Lions (on the right) are in a low, wide pot. We topped that one with a little moss and a couple of rocks. The Lemon Star is in the slightly smaller pot on the back left. That, one too, has moss. The largest bulb (Sunshine Nymph) is in the larger pot with no moss. Below is a look at the Lemon Star. This is the one that The Bird picked out and is the only one of the five that hasn't gotten started just yet. Still dormant. Below is a closer look at the trio of Red Lions. All three of these have small green shoots that have emerged from the bulb. And, final
One of the first 'moments' that kicks off the holiday season each year for me is the annual purchase and planting of Amaryllis bulbs (or what my kids call: "Christmas Flowers"). Normally, I buy a couple of varieties - some from big box stores and some from Wannamaker's. This past weekend, I was at Home Depot and found what you normally find at big box stores: Amaryllis kits. That's a bulb, a little pot and a disc of 'soil' that expands when you add water. I don't love those - especially since it seemed that when I opened the boxes for the kits, I noticed that the stalks had already emerged from the bulb, but due to being in the dark they were white(ish). But, right next to the kits was a bin of bare bulbs - both Paper-whites and Amaryllis. The Amaryllis bulbs were $7.99 - about half of what I normally pay for a high quality bulb. I grabbed three of them. And a low, wide clay container to plant all three. Those three are all the same vari
Earlier this week I flipped over my Christmas music tracking advice website to read: "Yes" as of Monday, November 1st, 2021. I've posted about " Can I listen to Christmas Music? " before including last year (when I posted on November 1st ) and have posted about it over the years. If you go to the Christmas Music Permission site and scroll down, you'll see that I have it listed as a project that I established in 2015. Ever since then, I've posted about the project - and how I flip it from "No. Don't be a lunatic." (which is up from Jan 1 --> Oct 31) to "Yes. Go ahead." (which is up from November 1 --> Dec 31 - almost every year. In 2015, I started the "Can I listen to Christmas music?" project back in 2015 . In 2016, I posted on Christmas music from 2016 and included a Buzzfeed video. In 2017, I posted on listening to Christmas music from 2017 on November 2nd In 2018, I posted about the move to a new landi
My brother-in-laws have a thing going on with the annual Anchor Steam Christmas Ale that comes out every year. And I've posted a little bit about the bottles each year. This year, the beer was billed as : "New tree. New recipe. Same holiday tradition." Nat's brother Charlie tells me that they have a new head brewer - hence the changes. He also said that this year is heavier (is that the right term?) alcohol. But, I'm mostly interested in the label. Here's a look - below - at one of the bottles that Nat's Dad bought and stored for her brothers when they can make it. They have a beer from every year back a number of years in this fridge. Three trees. That's kinda interesting. Turns out, that's new. From the 2020 page : This year’s label features The Three Graces; three iconic towering sequoias from the Mariposa Grove in California’s Yosemite National Park. This is only the second time in its 46-year history that multiple trees are shown t
The last time I posted photo showing off this season's Christmas Amaryllis bulb was over this past weekend , but the photo was from 10 days ago on December 28th. Today - these photos below are *from today* - our wax Amaryllis bulb is still throwing off blooms. Here's how it looks from what I'm calling the front. Blooms are closely packed together and the height is just - Chef's kiss - perfect. Not too tall and leggy which means they usually flop over. This waxed bulb is compact and short. And, if you look closely at the flowers, you'll see that it is even producing new, about-to-open blooms like the one you see below: Around back, you'll see some of the blooms in decline that I need to pinch off. I'm not ready to give a final analysis of this waxed bulb Amaryllis experiment, but, right now, despite getting a late start, this thing has been pretty great.
You can't swing a dead cat and NOT hit a Pinterest board or wanna-be Instagram Influencer without seeing their Elf-on-the-shelf shenanigans. But, I'm here to say that our elf, Goldie, thanks to a certain someone, killed it this year. He arrived, had a good time and hit the bricks as fast as he came. Here he is feeding the reindeer: I've covered Golide before - most recently in 2019 when he met my guy Hulk Hogan and when he had tea time with a homeless lady under our tree .
We have quite a few Christmas traditions in our house. COVID has caused us to change, drop or modify a bunch of them. But, it also provided us with some new opportunities. One of them was this new drive-through light show that took place in the parking lot of Northbrook Mall. We went right before Christmas to celebrate the Babe's birthday. It is called the "Let it Shine" lightshow and you can find all the details here on their site . I don't know if this is a one-year thing (because of COVID), but based on our experience, I'm hoping it isn't. We really liked it. We packed a dinner and packed the kids in to the van and went up there. There is something akin to Disney's Fast Pass that you can buy to get a shortcut in the line. But, we didn't wait that long. Maybe 15 or 20 minutes of waiting until it was our turn to wind through the light show. I have to say...I'm not sure that was a terrible thing. It costs $39.99 per car - which see
I own exactly one camouflage item of clothing. It is this Doug Hayse for Illinois State Representative camo ball cap. Based on the data on the Illinois Department of Elections site , it appears that this hat is from the 2004 general election cycle. That means that I've kept this hat for more than 15 years. But, I only wear it one day a year: Christmas Tree Farm Day. Just filing this away as one of my Christmas traditions - I've successfully been able to file this hat away in with the rest of our holiday decorations. Just to be pulled out when the tubs of decorations come out each Thanksgiving-time. I'm pretty sure it started because we had (historically) went down to the Tammen Treeberry Farm in Braidwood. That was in, or pretty darn close - to the district Doug Hayse was running in for State Representative. If I was doing - (which...NOTE TO SELF: I should do one this year, right??) - one of the "my favorite Christmas things" from this year, this hat
On Monday, I posted a photo of our family room Christmas tree . That was the larger of our two trees from Evergreen Acres in Wisconsin. I said at the time that the tree was the 13th Christmas tree that I've posted about over the years here on the blog and the fourth Family Room tree in our house in Downers - that we moved into in the Summer of 2017. But, that was wrong. I forgot to include our Green Room Tree in 2019 to my list. So, technically, Monday's tree was the 14th. And this tree makes 15. For our new house, we've been here for four Christmas seasons: 2017, 2018, 2019 and now 2020. In each of those three previous years - and again this year - we have a second tree in our house - a smaller tree in the front room. Or, Green room. Or, Library. Depends on who describes it. This year - like previous - we cut down a smaller Fraser Fir and Nat decorated it with vintage ornaments in our front window. Here it is below: White globe lights, vintage ball ornaments
Each of the past few years, we've grown Christmas flowers. They're always Amaryllis bulbs that I've bought at the Wannemaker's Christmas Open House in early November. That timeline has usually given me enough time get close to blooms on Christmas Day. Last year, we grew four different varieties. This year? We missed the open house. (Thanks, COVID.) And I never got around to buying bulbs. So, to my delight, Nat came home from (I think) Trader Joe's with this waxed amaryllis. The tag doesn't list the variety, so it will be a surprise when it opens. It seems that with this waxed version, you have to do literally NOTHING. No water. No soil. Just turn it a quarter turn every few days to get it to grow straight. So, while this isn't the best we've done with Amaryllis bulbs, at least having this on our counter keeps the tradition up of growing these things for the holidays. COVID can shove it.
Earlier this year, I posted about the new (to us) Christmas Tree Farm up in Wisconsin called Evergreen Acres and how we cut down a handsome pair of trees and brought them home. One of those trees has gone in our front green room (more on that in a separate post) and the other one ended up in our Krinner XXL tree stand in our family room. Here it is below: The tree is about two feet shy of our ceiling, so let's call it eight feet tall. It is a lovely tree that is also drinking a TON of water - all the way up until now (mid-December). Here's some of our previous Christmas trees from over the years. Here's our 2019 Family Room tree that we bought from Wannemakers . Was taller than 2020's tree. Here's our 2019 (small) Green Room Tree . Here's our 2018 Family Room Tree . Here's v1 of our 2017 tree - our first in Downers Grove. Here's v2 of our 2017 tree - the one in our family room . Here's our 2016 tree - our last one in Elmhurst . Here's o
I've been going with Nat and her family to cut down Christmas trees the day after Thanksgiving for 15 years. And in that time, we've gone to a place down in Wilmington called Tammen Treeberry Farm. When we moved into our house in Downers, Nat decided to have two trees inside. One smaller one for the front room and a larger one for our family room. That worked fine in theory. But, what we found down at Tammen Tree farm was that they had a good selection of small and medium-sized trees. However, they lacked in what I'd call "larger" trees. That meant that last year, we called an audible and ONLY bought one tree down at Tammen. We ended up buying the second - "larger" tree that was pre-cut from Wannemaker's in town here . And with that decision, we paid *double* what they were charging down at Tammen, but we had a really lovely tree. This year, Nat's folks decided to try something new. A trip to a whole new tree farm - one up in Wisco