Woodlake, CA is the land within the magic circle, a protected valley surrounded by the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Running P Ranch in Elderwood hosts weddings in a setting of flowering amaryllis.
According to experts, amaryllis is the easiest of flowering bulbs to make bloom. Indoors or out, and they flower from late December until the end of June. In early May amaryllis plants flaunt their beauty.
My friend Katherine Traugar respects people who know the name of plants, so this tidbit is for you, my friend. The amaryllis bears the botanical name Hippeastrum. These flowers make showy Christmas gifts, but outside in a natural setting, they stand out among other spring beauties.
Nestled against the western fence in this wedding setting, they rival the bride’s glowing beauty. The flamboyant blooms make amaryllis popular and in demand worldwide. Besides various shades of red and salmon as seen in Elderwood, they also come in white, pink, and orange as well as striped and multicolored varieties.
Prepare to Plant
If you want to plant these South American flowers, first place the base and roots of the bulb in lukewarm water for a few hours. To store them keep the bulbs at a temperature between 40-50 degrees F if you can’t plant them right away. But keep them away from apples.
Plant the bulb up to its neck in a nutritious potting compost, taking care not to damage the roots. Firmly tamp down the soil after planting.
Amaryllis plants flower seven to ten weeks after planting. Plant bulbs every two weeks to achieve continuous bloom.
Peter Abraham’s Collection Recommended by Stephen King
Yes, I just told you that my goals are to use Always Write for my book reviews and this blog for traveling. Because there are book reviews here already, I am going to repurpose some the posts from time to time.
Here’s my logic to how this relates to travel.
If you’re going on a trip, you need some books to read. Don’t blame me for recommending these books. Steven King included his favorite books in his book On Writing.
After I had read Steven King’s On Writing, I thumbed through his suggested reading list at the end of the book. Granted he published his book ten years ago, so these are classics. Probably voracious readers have already heard of Peter Abrahams, but I started at the top of the alphabetized list, so I started reading his books. He does what I haven’t even come close to mastering. He writes descriptions, metaphors newer and fresher than clean socks, similes as puzzling as a Sudoku, which I never work out correctly no matter how much scratching I do along the sides.
Lights Out – Peter Abrahams
In Lights Out Abrahams chose a wrongfully imprisoned, vengeful murderer as the hero. This poor man’s mother neglected him. His older brother set him up, lied to him and abandoned him, leaving “Nails” to serve his entire sentence in prison for something he never did. Of course, he killed a few bad guys in jail that picked on him, which kept him locked up. When he eventually emerged, looking younger and more fit than his outside colleagues, he searched for his brother. Nails seemed dumb, but you had a feeling he would solve the mystery of why he went to prison, and get the sexy woman in the end. You wondered if his brother would get caught, and by whom. He did, but not in any way I would have expected or chosen to read, for that matter, but it kept me reading. No matter what he did, Nails’ brother got an appropriate comeuppance, but not one you’d wish on your worst enemy.
Revolution #9, published in 1992, told the classic story of a smart woman marrying a man she thought she knew and finding out on her wedding night that she didn’t even know his name, nor the people who came and took him away. The government thought they could close the twenty-year-old murder case when a counterfeiter blew Charlie’s cover in return for favors he would soon need again. No one had reacted with more surprise than Charlie when the bomb he had built and set under the building exploded, killing the eleven-year-old son of a professor at his college.
Running for his life, abandoned by the real terrorists, Charlie changed his identity and took cover as a lobster fisherman. He had not been discovered. Then he accidentally fell in love. When he married, news of Charlie’s reappearance twenty years later triggered many levels of events reaching into the depths of the government before the reader discovers the true perpetrators. But did they get away with it, and let Charlie live? Only those who read the book will know for sure.
I also read Oblivion. Such a title that might have clued me into the surprise, but it didn’t. It’s unclear by the end of the book if it actually has a resolved, happy ending. It’s sort of happy, but because of the oblivious, I’m not sure.
Petrov is an investigator who wins court cases for his clients. He’s dramatic and thorough, attacking each case with the tenacity of the locked door on my front loading washer. (That’s another story.) Somehow along the way, he loses his way, and ends up in the hospital, falls in love with the nurse, and ends up head to head against his past and another love. Abrahams packs more surprises into each chapter than I have had in my life. If you read it long ago, you may have forgotten all the turns and twists, but I doubt it.
If you haven’t read this trio of mysteries, treat yourself a few days of good reading this summer. 🙂 What are you reading?
Want a unique travel experience? Badfish writes an amazing travelogue about his trip to Malta. Malta is in the Mediterranean south of Sicily. I’ve never seen such blue waters. You will enjoy his lively sense of humor as well.