The striking amaryllis symbolises pride and enchanting beauty and expresses a feeling of friendship and affection.
At Shrinking Violet Bespoke Floristry Malvern we love Amaryllis’ very unusual petals which appear as though crafted from fabulous velvet. Found in white, red, yellow, pink, salmon, purple, orange and bi-coloured, there is one to suit every taste! This beautiful flower makes such a wonderful addition to any bouquet or floral display.
Amaryllis does not have any foliage which has led to the nickname of the ‘Naked Lady’ in the United States of America. But what it lacks in foliage, it makes up for in profundity, having up to six blooms on a single stem.
It is sometimes known as Hippeastrum (Greek for horse and star) hence the name of ‘Knight Star’ in Holland. The Dutch were the first to bring this amazing flower to European shores. They began importing the first varieties as far back as the eighteenth century.
The radiant flower is a descendant of the Narcissus family, and grows from a bulb. It is native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. A long way from scenic Malvern!
There is a wonderful Greek myth surrounding this flower, the tale of a love-struck shepherdess, Amaryllis. The focus of her attentions, a young shepherd, Alteo, was only interested in flowers and paid her no heed. He would sigh “Only the girl who can bring me a new flower will receive my love.”
Amaryllis visited the Oracle at Delphi and was told that she must pierce her heart with an arrow from the temple in front of Alteo’s house and declare her love for him. She should be prepared to do this more than once if necessary.
Night after night she stood outside Alteo’s house, stabbing herself and her heart and declaring her love for him. All the while her life-blood streamed from her and yet he did not respond.
Finally, on the thirtieth evening, where her blood had run, a large red flower bloomed. “Alteo, Altea, here is the flowers” called Amaryllis. Altea opened the door and saw the weakened girl before him holding the strong stem of this new flower. He knelt before her and they kissed.
The new flower was named Amaryllis, ‘to sparkle’ in Greek.
It can take up to six years to grow Amaryllis from seed, but they can then live for up to 75 years if properly cared for! Perhaps this relates to the Greek tale, true love can take time to grow, but when properly nurtured it will last a lifetime.
They are also excellently long-lasting as cut flowers, which is another reason why we love them so much at Shrinking Violet Bespoke Floristry.
So why not bring a little bit of exotic romance into your next bouquet, floral display or wedding flowers and ask us about how to include Amaryllis?