His neighbors wonder at the lush flower gardens around his house and his grandchildren call him Mr. Miracle Grow.
Concord resident Tony Delia has surprised himself with the success of his flowering Amaryllis this spring.
Delia of Sherborne Drive recently displayed several 40-inch tall Amaryllis that he since has moved outside.
“These flowers last about two weeks,” Delia said. “This is exceptional.”
Delia was the subject of a June 8, 2000, Mail Call article about sunflowers he grew taller than his one-story house.
“I water with rainwater,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll put a little fertilizer and some human hair in the soil. I heard of that years ago. I read about a barber that puts hair in a garden and cultivates it and sells it.”
Delia’s 5-year-old Amaryllis bulbs are bigger than a baby’s head. He contends that the flowers are considered large when they grow to a height of 24 inches.
He said gardening prowess runs in his family.
“My mom could put a stick in the ground and it would blossom,” he recalled.
Delia has been gardening since the 1930s.
In fact, he won the John S. Swift Shade Planting Association of St. Louis’ Blue Ribbon for the Chinese Elm Tree as a second-grader in 1939.
“Once I had a day lily I got from Michigan bulb. It was supposed to grow two feet and it grew higher than my garage,” he said. “It was just beautiful until the voles came over and started eating them. I had a war with those guys.”