It’s Tra­di­tion

This fes­tive fam­ily event blos­somed into a full-grown con­test over the years

Our Canada - - Contents - By John Wage­mak­ers, Saska­toon

With our fam­ily be­ing of Dutch de­scent, we’ve al­ways en­joyed spend­ing time in our yards and grow­ing flow­ers through­out the sum­mer. We try to ex­tend the grow­ing sea­son by en­joy­ing flow­er­ing house­plants dur­ing the colder months. One ideal win­ter plant is the amaryl­lis, so our fam­ily took on grow­ing this bulb as an an­nual Christ­mas grow­ing con­test tra­di­tion. This fam­ily event of­fi­cially be­gan in 2012 and my mother, her four chil­dren and up to four grand­chil­dren par­tici- pated. Ev­ery year be­gins with me invit­ing all past grow­ers and fam­ily mem­bers who haven’t had a chance at par­tic­i­pat­ing to en­ter. I sug­gest where cer­tain bulbs can be found with ap­prox­i­mate prices, and the date that the bulbs are to be planted. Af­ter the plant­ing, there are no holds barred—the win­ner is the one who has the first opened flower.

The event usu­ally starts in late Oc­to­ber, with the search­ing for and buy­ing of bulbs. We be­gin plant­ing in mid-novem­ber and the first flower is usu­ally re­ported in mid-de­cem­ber. With our fam­ily re­sid­ing in On­tario, Man­i­toba, Saskatchewan, Al­berta and the Yukon, we use email to share grow­ing tips and pic­tures of our en­tries. As soon as we hear word that a flower has opened by one of the com­peti­tors (we tend to send a pic­ture for proof), the con­test ends.

The win­ner from the pre­vi­ous year pur­chases a small to­ken prize, such as fridge mag­nets with a flower de­sign, a bou­quet of flow­ers or lot­tery tick­ets, and presents it to the cur­rent year’s win­ner, who en­joys the sta­tus of ”Best Flower of the Year” award. Our 2017 reign­ing cham­pion is Pam Wage­mak­ers and our fam­ily mem­ber who’s tal­lied the most wins, 2013 and 2016, is none other than my mom, Tonny. I, on the other hand, have only won once, in 2012, but win­ner or not, ev­ery­one gen­uinely en­joys hav­ing their own amaryl­lis flower over the Christ­mas sea­son. n

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