Housekeeping Notice

Yes, we’re starting with a notice from housekeeping this week, I can’t help it either. I have no clue what else to tell you this week, so I want to relay a message from everyone at Fluwel.


It’s about the sale of the spring-blooming flower bulbs. Next week, December 17, will be the last day to order those. I will remind you a few more times before then, but if you have not ordered anything at all yet, try not to wait until next week, no matter how nice a bit of procrastination feels every now and then. I see good varieties jump to ‘SOLD OUT’ every day, and you don’t want to miss out on stuff you really wanted to try this year. There is still a wonderful assortment to choose from–as always there are varieties left over that I would have expected to sell out within a few days–but your options are starting to become more limited.


A true Lady Tulip: Lady Jane


This notice was traditionally followed with the announcement that the Amaryllises remained available, but would not be sent in the last two weeks of December, as everyone at Fluwel gets a two-week Christmas vacation. This year, we are happy to announce you won’t have to wait as long, and you have one man to thank for that: Adri. Adri started working at the Fluwel office this year, and he loves to hike. And before you start to wonder whatever hiking has to do with sending out flower bulbs: Adri likes to join several organised hikes throughout the year. Nijmeegse Vierdaagse, Elfstedentocht, West-Friese Dijk… he does every single one of them, no matter the weather. His hiking friends can always count on him, and we hear stories about his adventures several times a year. As Adri likes to join these events, he scatters his days off throughout the year, whereas the rest of us always take them at once over Christmas, usually to visit family in other countries. But Adri is going to man the web shop over the last weeks of December, and therefore, we can send the flower bulbs out when you order them. Do note that while we may have someone in our warehouse, the shipping service we send the bulbs with may not be as quick during Christmastime, so you might still have to wait a little longer than you would right now. If you want to give someone an Amaryllis for Christmas…


Amaryllis Magical Touch


I do have to say that the Amaryllises are doing great this season. I have a few that are already beautiful. The photo you see here is the best gift advice I can give you: an Amaryllis plus its vase. This glass vase looks good in every house, no matter how crazily colourful or muted and grey the interior design choices of your loved ones might be.


Some more advice to get your Amaryllis to look good in its vase: remove the dead bits of root from the bottom of the bulb. When you receive the bulb, you’ll see that a few of its roots are plush and white, while others might be black and dry. The dried, black bits are useless and can be carefully removed to give the white ones more space. This will make the water in the vase much clearer, which isn’t only good for the bulb, but also simply prettier. After four to six days, you can change out the water once to freshen the flower up. Put the Amaryllis in a warm spot in your house. It loves warmth and will grow much faster than when you keep it in a colder spot. If you choose a warm enough location, you’ll see new roots start to grow from the bulbs. If you see this, you know for sure that your Amaryllis is enjoying itself. When the flowers open, it’s ideal to move the Amaryllis to a slightly colder location, just so the flowers will be good a little longer. Amaryllises always work, but these small actions may make the difference between a pretty one and a true eye-catcher.


Sometimes, you do everything right but the bulb still gives you nothing. When this happens, take a photo and email it to us. We will have a look and try to diagnose your Amaryllis. I have planted over 200 Amaryllises for myself this year, and there are always three, four, five flowers that just don’t come out. So the odds are incredibly slim, but a flower bulb is a live product, so even when you try your best they might not work. Not to worry: we will do our best to send you a new one, and if that’s impossible, you get your money back. If your bulb is smaller or different than you thought, and you would like more information about that, never hesitate to send us an email with a photograph, too. We are happy to take a look.


Candy Nymph, a true giant among Amaryllises


But don’t rush into stress about your flower too much: sometimes they just need a little bit of patience. Wait it out a little: just like Tulips, cars, and people, there are fast and slow Amaryllises, and everything in between. Sometimes that has to do with the variety, but not always. I once got the question if we could add that to our website, but after years of working with the Amaryllises, I have not been able to detect a trustworthy pattern when it comes to predicting how fast a flower will grow. It is influenced by the time at which it was dug and how fast it was stored after that. You need to understand that an Amaryllis needs a winter period before it blooms, albeit a very light winter. If you store an Amaryllis for about eight weeks at 15 degrees Celsius, they will have had a winter. Originally, Amaryllises come from the western side of the Amazone: Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. Those areas don’t get very cold winters, and if after that period of about 15 degrees, the Amaryllis moves to your living room, it will think spring has arrived, and it will start to bloom. But here’s the thing: if you have an Amaryllis that has had about six weeks of winter instead of eight, it may need a few weeks in your house before she’s ready to start growing her flower. The bulb may have been dug and stored, but it’s still resting and not yet ready to bloom. It may need a few days. It could be that Candy Nymph grows well before New Years’ one year, and the next you won’t see her until halfway through January.


Reading back what I just wrote I am starting to sound like a schoolteacher. Oh well. If you want to try to get your Amaryllis to grow again next year, there’s more information about that on our website. Regulate the temperature throughout the year and you might see your same Amaryllis again next year!


Kind regards,


Carlos van der Veek