Customer Review

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid Beauty!, September 24, 2002
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This review is from: Amaryllis (Hardcover)
What a terrific book! It's so much more than the gorgeous photographs for which the author is well-known -- it has lots of information on cultivation and propagation plus there is a glossary with pictures of 96 different hybrids complete with growing information (type, height/flower size and time from planting until flowering). The author also includes a history of the cultivation of amaryllis which is very interesting -- she documents descriptions and instructions for growing beginning with Milton in 1637 through the Victorian and Edwardian periods to today. She describes the three main sources of bulbs (African, Dutch and South American) and discusses both older varieties and newer cultivars including the miniatures and those with double flowers.
Amaryllis come in a large variety of patterns within a color range consisting of red, white, pink and, more recently, peach, pale green, yellow and orange. Ockenga provides beautiful, lyrical descriptions: "'Cinderella' boasts kitten whiskers drawn on an upturned face, 'Charisma' is speckled with cranberry dots that fade to a creamy background, while 'Elvas' and 'Allure' seem splashed with the juice of sweet cherries."
The book concludes with a list of suppliers (with web addresses) and an extensive bibliography. This is a great book for anyone interested in growing amaryllis, particularily given that there is nothing else like it on the market today. Note, however, that Ockenga grows her amaryllis in pots in her greenhouse in New York; she includes information on growing amaryllis in the ground but the bulk of the growing information is with regard to pot-grown bulbs. Much of this is generic to both kinds of cultivation, however, as is the information on pests and diseases, feeding and watering schedules, etc. This is, quite simply, a wonderful book.
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