by Jennifer Ebeling

Amaryllis is so sweet and fair,
A name that's true, beyond compare.
Though Herbert made the genera split,
He picked a name we'd soon forget
So gauche, it starts with hippeasst,
In the game of names, it comes in last
Rather follow like sheep where Linnaeus led,
Honoring a shepherdess who willing bled
For the love of a shepherd who saw her not,
But oh, Amaryllis, gardeners have not forgot.
Today, we say Alteo, who?
But, at your name, we can construe
The bulb that blooms in winter's chill.
Amaryllis, you are with us still.



Note: Greek mythology tells the story of Amaryllis, who was a lovestruck shepherdess. She fell in love with a handsome shepherd named Alteo. But, the problem was that Alteo had a heart only for flowers. Amaryllis went to the Oracle at Delphi, who gave her a Golden arrow. The Oracle told Amaryllis that each night, she must dress all in white and stand outside Alteo's house. Then she must pierce her own heart with the Golden arrow and knock on Alteo's door. On the 30th night, Alteo awoke to her cry, and when she knocked on his door, he opened it. There, Amaryllis stood in her white gown; her heart was fully healed, and on the ground were the most magnificent scarlet flowers. Alteo knelt before her and pledged his undying love to Amaryllis. Now, every holiday season, we watch the Amaryllis bloom.

As featured on
The Daily Gardener podcast:

Words inspired by the garden are the sweetest, most beautiful words of all.
Jenifer Ebeling
Jenifer Ebeling


  1. Kathy Wedl on August 27, 2022 at 3:52 pm

    Lovely meeting you today. Please contact me if you do that garden tour. Hope I can still walk by then.

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