The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bulbs and bulbs and bulbs

If one looks closely in this photo, one can see, in the foreground, a pink lycoris squamigera, also known as a Naked Lady, or an August lily.  Obviously it isn't August yet, but almost, and bulbs are somewhat irreverent when it comes to deciding when to bloom.  If one looks even more closely, in the lower right one will see a small sprawling plant which might be some sort of thyme, but actually is what I call weedus non-rarus.

The reason I am so jubilant about this particular bloom, which I found only today, is that I've waited several years for it.  It was originally planted in another garden but never got ready to bloom there, then it was potted up to move, then planted in its current location three years ago.  It sent up foliage for the last two years, but today -  today here it is in all its loveliness.  And oh, it was so worth the wait.

The passionate enthusiasms I enjoy include my family and friends, reading good books, particularly well-written mysteries by English writers or English-sounding writers, watching crackling good movies, and gardening.  Especially gardening with bulbs.  Here's a great commercial for bulbs:  usually when one plants a bulb, it grows and hopefully blooms where it is planted.  On the other hand if one plants seeds and there comes a rain such as can only be found in these parts right now in myth and memory, those same seeds will likely end up washed to a new location and one can only hope the near or far neighbor enjoys them.  So give me a bulb any time.  The problem is, which kind of bulb.  And the answer to that, for me, is all of them.  Any of them.  I don't grow all of them, of course, but not for want of trying.  We are regularly grateful we don't have more space to plant, because the amount of work would be terrifying.  It comes close sometimes, even as things are.

Sooner or later we'll get every available space filled with bulbs or with tough plants to keep the bulbs company, and some sort of bulb will be blooming almost throughout the year, from grape hyacinths and ipheion in the very early spring, to daffodils and hyacinths and tulips and hardy gladiolas, to amaryllis and lilies, to spider lilies and their cousins, to rhodophiala and sternbergia in the fall.  Then all will be quiet for just a few weeks while the growing world rests and the hidden bulbs are preparing themselves for another season, and the gardener will be dreaming of another spring, the one that will be the best ever.

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