Monday, August 3, 2009

Surprise Lily-Lycoris

Named for Lycoris, a Roman actress and mistress of Mark Antony Pronunciation: ly-KOR-iss

The "Surprise Lily" has many names, Naked Lily, Magic Lily, Resurrection Lily...but whatever you call it it is a true "surprise".

When we moved to Lake of the Ozarks gardening in general was a challenge, seems everything around here is rock. You cannot dig a hole to plant anything because it's just to hard to do. I'm from Tucson and thought the soil was bad there. So planting in my new yard was disappointing to say the least. I just ended up watching things that had been previously planted by the old owners come up and felt grateful for that.

In the Spring, around mid to late April I noticed some very pretty and very green elongated leaves poking through the rocks on the south side of the house. They got very thick and grew to about 12 inches tall. I had never seen them before so I was quite excited with the prospect of having something "bloom". I watched those leaves for weeks, then all of a sudden they started to die off. I grumbled and complained about "the only thing that came up here died". I had that discussion with a neighbor. I asked her what they were and in her quiet Missouri way she smiled and said "you'll see" and she went home.

I was beginning to think maybe she was a little "forgetful" and just didn't know what they were or why they died. She even mentioned to me in July that I had "better water those". Uh, "those" what, there wasn't anything there! She came over and said "just water there, you'll see". I thought this must be some sick joke that only folks that lived around here understood, I was actually getting a little miffed!

But, I did as I was told, I watered the dry rocky ground as instructed all the while thinking "she's probably in her kitchen looking out her window laughing her head off". She wasn't. Toward the end of July I happened to be out (watering my rocks) and was totally shocked to see all these pointy little plants sticking out of the ground where those dead leaves had been. I was so excited. I ran over to Elsie's and said "you'll never believe this, there is something coming up". "Yup, just watch them, you'll see". That statement was getting old!

Less than a week later there were stalks that had grown to about 18" high. On top of the stalks were huge buds....and yes, Elsie kept telling me to "watch them", I did.

We had some hot days and I dutifully watered my "stalks". In a few days the most beautiful blooms emerged from those dead leaves and tall stalks. A lily, a beautiful pink lily that was huge! They were so full and soft looking, I was absolutely thrilled with them. And yes, they were a surprise, one of the nicest surprises I've had.

Thank you Elsie for my "surprise", something to look forward to every summer, the Lycoris squamigera, Surprise Lily.


BeadedTail said...

Those lilies are certainly a beautiful surprise! I enjoyed your story about them too!

Sewinggranny - Mona said...

MElana...they are gorgeous...I love had a friend give me a plant one was called Mother in laws tongue...I watched it for ages and thought it was fake as it did not do anything...I tried watering it, I tried not watering took about 3 years before it actually started to grow!!

Amanda said...

Oooh, lovely surprise indeed!!! Those lilies are gorgeous!!! We have some that are similar that just pop up and out of the ground but they are red. They also have foliage in the spring, die off in the summer, and in early fall these gorgeous red flowers come out! They're Lycoris radiata!!!! We also call them surprise lilies for the same reasons.

Lovely post. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it!

Julie said...

I just LOVE lilies! Those are truly Beautiful!! What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing this Melena :)