I think you'll agree with me that growing beautiful plants gets old after a while. Wouldn't it be great if someone came up with an easy way to kill them? They have! Now you can buy amaryllis bulbs coated with wax in a rainbow of festive colors! I mean, what says Christmas better than a bright yellow amaryllis bulb destined to shortly die?

Grumpy is tearing up now.

Wax-covered amaryllis bulbs are pure genius. See, before waxing, the bulbs already had enough moisture and food stored inside them to produce one or two flower stalks that will elongate and bloom. Without wax, you'd have to plant them, water them, care for them, and who needs that around the holidays? I mean, just lining the house gutters with tacky icicle lights that look like sparking power lines is enough work, right? Waxed bulbs need nothing -- no light, no water, no soil, no commitment. They even come with little stands on the bottoms so they'll sit up straight.

Of course, after they bloom, the bulbs will immediately die, because they can't be watered. Don't think you can get around this by stripping off the wax. Before waxing, the growers cut off the basal plate of each bulb where roots form. Waxed bulbs are a one-shot deal, so you have to buy more next year. Brilliant!

Waxed amaryllis bulbs remind me of another waxed product that has a very short life in my house.

emPhoto: Steve Bender/em

Maker's Mark Bourbon Whisky. Smooth, mellow, so good neat or on the rocks. I dipped this bottle in wax myself at the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. Lucky I didn't drink any before I did or I might have dipped myself and gone the way of the amaryllis.

But say you're a wacko appalled at the idea of killing perfectly good bulbs that, if planted, could bloom year after year? Then you'll want to read this story: "Amaryllis After Christmas -- Now What?"