It was still dark when I went out to retrieve my newspaper this morning. I was leaving early to meet friends for the drive to our monthly West Houston RWA chapter meeting, about forty miles from my home, and I didn’t have time for my usual morning walk. So I didn’t get a good look at my hurricane lily until I got home this afternoon. It’s still the only flower, although a few other stems have popped up, and it’s now in full bloom.
This morning’s Houston Chronicle featured a timely article about three “naturalizing heirloom bulbs” that bloom in our area in September. One of the three is my flower, Lycoris radiata, known as hurricane or red spider lily. The plant is a native of Asia, often found in abandoned landscapes, hardy and drought tolerant. I had no idea that the lilies were not native to this area, since they’ve been here longer than I have, or that they would be considered heirloom plants. That’s a term usually applied to agricultural plants no longer grown commercially, and sometimes used, as in this case, for one-time landscape plants (heirloom roses, for example, are much prized) gone wild around old homestead sites. Back when I was doing archeological survey work, I learned that such plants were sometimes all that remained of a long abandoned home place.
Near my advance scout I spotted a clump of bulbs. I have a feeling they really shouldn’t be quite this close to the surface, but there they are. I’ll keep an eye on this bunch to see if they sprout this year. If they don’t, perhaps I’ll make a gardening effort in the spring. The article suggests dividing mature bulbs (do I ask for proof of age?) in April or May and planting them in ground cover (I guess grass counts), in borders (I don’t have anything that formally landscaped) or even in pots (I could probably handle that–whether the lilies could is another question).
Meanwhile, weather widget on my computer screen says the temperature is down to 77 degrees a few miles from here at the nearest Weatherbug site, and predicts a low tonight of 68. It hasn’t been that cool here in months. That would mean perfect lawn-mowing weather tomorrow morning, but I’m going to wait another week, until the rest of the lilies come up. It’s one thing to abuse the bulbs, but I don’t want to risk mowing down any low stems.
Couldn’t ask for a better excuse.