The Wrong Lilies

The Wrong Lilies

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Awhile back, I wrote a bit entitled No More Crying Over Crinums, because I was thrilled that a particular clump of crinum had finally bloomed after a few years’ wait.  And indeed that particular crinum was, and is, lovely.   And we still love it.

However, to balance all that out, another variety that we grow, variety powellii album, Powell’s white for you and me, is one of the most vigorous plants we have ever grown, and we put two in an area where the conditions were very welcoming for it, perhaps too welcoming, and first thing you know, we had a Problem.  Yes, with a capital ‘P’!  The two bulbs between them took up a huge area, and one of them threatened our flowering quince.  Now flowering quince is a glorious plant that we have (almost) always had with us wherever we were and why we planted one of those crinum bulbs so near the quince we shall never know.  What we do know is that it took us four days of digging, and three of us and a six-foot pry bar to dig that clump up, and three of us with rope to remove it from the bed, and quite a bit of time to find a home (actually homes) for it.  The remaining clump of this variety is still in place and will remain there until possibly the end of time, because it would take a backhoe to remove it, so we have simply arranged to accommodate it.   To be fair, this powellii album is pure white and fragrant and blooms freely.

The last bit of accommodation came day before yesterday, when I took a spade and dug around the smaller variety, the one that inspired my previous article.  This variety is smaller, less aggressive/strong, and it has white blooms, also fragrant, but with a scarlet center that is just gorgeous in its own right.    Knowing that the big clump was going to completely overshadow this smaller variety, yesterday two of us completed the removal process, a much simpler one than the other experience, and potted it up, and now have a measure of control.

The point of all these words is that while crinums are incredibly wonderful plants, some of them are bigger than a small garden area will comfortably accommodate, and so I urge everyone to be aware, and beware!

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