Here’s how it starts: a lump of a bulb, some dirt, water, and a great big window keeping the cold midwestern winter out. Add time. That’s it, just time – the bulb is tightly packed with flowers, waiting to escape. If you cut off the first amaryllis stalk after it fades, another will come up and bloom. You do nothing to deserve this, but there it is.
In fact, the dirt is optional. The bulbs will bloom without it, but if you have an urge to feel necessary, give them potting soil along with the water and let the leaves grow for a few months when the flowers are gone, and the amaryllis will stock itself back up so it can do this again next year. But don’t let it go to your head. The narcissus may or may not go along with this.
For another connection to February, both these staples of reliable indoor beauty are named for characters in stories of obsessive love. In the case of Narcissus it ended badly, but Amaryllis got her shepherd. Whether their efforts were wise or misguided, they showed great determination, and released their inner natures. Metaphor is everywhere in the garden, indoors and out.