The Winchendon Courier
Serving the community since 1878 ~ A By Light Unseen Media publication
Week of November 4 to November 11, 2021


Delight Friends and Family with Winter-Blooming Bulbs

Giant Amadeus amaryllis
The flower petals of Giant Amadeus amaryllis start out white and turn to pink, coral and salmon.
Photo credit: photo courtesy of

Give a holiday gift that is guaranteed to bring joy and feelings of well-being. Research by Rutgers University found the gift of flowers generates a smile, elevates the recipient's mood, and provides feelings of happiness that last for days. Amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs make it easy for anyone to enjoy these benefits by growing their own living bouquet of flowers.

Non-gardeners will appreciate receiving an amaryllis or paperwhite gift kit that includes the bulb, soil, and pot. All they need to do is open the box, water the soil, and wait for the beauty to unfurl. Or make your own ready-to-grow gifts by purchasing bulbs and planting them in decorative pots.

Each amaryllis bulb sends up multiple stems topped with flowers that can measure up to eight inches across. Nurturing amaryllis or paperwhites from bulb to bloom requires no experience or special care, but answers to any questions can be found at

Are there gardeners on your list? Keep it simple by selecting some winter-blooming amaryllis or paperwhite bulbs and tucking them into an attractive gift bag. While most people are familiar with the classic red amaryllis, there are many other colors and flower styles to choose from. Make your gift extra special by ordering some of these less-common varieties.

Elvas is a double white amaryllis with petals outlined in red. As the flowers mature, they gradually open wider and the red highlights become more apparent.

Giant Amadeus features layers of petals that start out white and blush to pink, coral and salmon. The color and intensity increase as the petals open.

For a twist on traditional red, consider Magical Touch. Its cherry red blossoms have broad, ruffled petals edged in white. When the flowers are fully open, they are flat rather than trumpet shaped.

Ruby Star is another uncommon amaryllis. Classified as a papillon or butterfly amaryllis, it has large, irregular-shaped petals in a striking color combination of wine red and apple green.

Brighten dark winter days with the cheery, lemony yellow flowers of amaryllis Yellow Star. Each bulb will send up multiple stems topped with four to six long-lasting flowers.

The flowers of amaryllis Cape Horn feature big, rounded petals in a lovely shade of rose-pink. Each blossom has a white star at the center and a lime green throat.

Most amaryllis bulbs begin flowering eight to ten weeks after planting. Paperwhite narcissus bulbs bloom in half the time and can be grown in soil or a shallow bowl of stones and water. For maximum fragrance, plant Ziva paperwhites. Varieties such as Nir and Inbal produce the same snowy-white flowers but have a much lighter fragrance.

Store winter-blooming bulbs in a cool, dry and dark place until you are ready to plant. Once you pot up the bulbs and place them in a warm, bright location, they will break dormancy and begin to sprout. Watching as the stems emerge, buds develop, and flowers appear is all part of the fun.

Be sure to order a couple extra bulbs for yourself. You will enjoy the stress relief these beautiful winter bulbs provide during the holiday season and long winter months.

Melinda Myers is the author of more than 20 gardening books, including Small Space Gardening. She hosts The Great Courses "How to Grow Anything" DVD series and the Melinda's Garden Moment TV & radio segments. Myers is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine and was commissioned by Longfield Gardens for her expertise to write this article. Her web site is


Tips for Selling Your Antiques and Collectibles

Chopin portrait

If you're interested in selling your antiques and collectibles, today's column is for you. I'll share some tips to help you get the most of your sale.

My first tip relates to timing: sell holiday collectibles in season. If you have Halloween collectibles, selling them in early October is best because Halloween is on peoples' minds. November and early December would be the right time to sell your vintage Christmas bulbs.

Second, sell items where they were made. I often get calls or emails from people around the country who have Massachusetts-related items because they realize their local items will sell better here. I collect old Worcester-related photos, advertising pieces and other items because I live in the area.

Beyond photos and ephemera, additional items do well when sold locally. Joseph Greenwood was a Worcester impressionist painter. Whenever we auction one of his paintings, it sells very well because so many of our local bidders are interested in his works.

Third, decide how you want to sell your items. You can sell them to a dealer, hire an estate sale company or auction house, or sell on your own. If you decide to sell things on your own, research your items. Be sure to check what similar items sold for, not the price the seller asked for. If you sell on your own, you can have a tag sale, sell on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, ad in this paper or on other platforms. It's important to consider that you will need to pay a fee if you list on eBay. You will also have to describe your item taking note of any defects, take detailed photographs, answer bidder questions, and handle shipping. With Craigslist, you may have people you don't know coming to see your items so you may want to have someone else with you or take other safety precautions. With Facebook Marketplace, you can do some vetting of the buyer by viewing their profile before you meet them.

If you decide to hire an auction house or estate sale company, see if any family members or friends have recommendations. Check reviews. Then talk with the companies you are considering. No matter what you decide, if you have something that is very valuable, auction is the preferred method. Estate sale companies around the country often contract with auction houses to sell highly valuable items.

As we emerge from the pandemic, many auction houses continue to run live auctions. We have switched to all online auctions since the pandemic began and they have been producing good results. We plan to continue with online auctions for the foreseeable future. We have been auctioning entire estates when they have valuable items such as antiques, collectibles, and automobiles. We also run multi-estate auctions with gold jewelry, coins, Sterling silver, paintings, vintage sports cards and comic books, and a wide range of other antiques and collectibles that sell to local buyers or are shipped around the globe.

Selling your antiques and collectibles is a great way to earn some extra cash before the holidays. Speaking from experience, you may even like selling so much you start your own business.

Our next multi-estate online auction will begin on November 10th. I'll also be teaching my "Evaluating your Antiques" class on November 10th at Bay Path Evening School in Charlton, MA. Beginning in late November, we will be running an online auction of the contents of a West Boylston estate with a newer model car and three wheeled motorcycle. The virtual antique appraisal event for the Townsend Historical Society has been postponed until next year. Please visit our website for more details on upcoming events:

Contact us at: Wayne Tuiskula Auctioneer/Appraiser Central Mass Auctions for Antique Auctions, Estate Sales and Appraisal Services (508-612- 6111)