Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Lycoris radiata flowering under Acer pubipalmatum in the Asian Collections

It poured last night and off and on today. For three weeks we've had all the rain we could want without flooding. Actually, it's going to bring the rainfall to the year up to average. It was tough dealing with the drought through July, but all's well that ends well. In the collection we have a lot of Lycoris squamigera, the commonest of the "naked ladies" (so called because they send up flowering shoot without any leaves). The pink form is purportedly a triploid hybrid of two species and flowers a few weeks before this species.

Lycoris are sometimes called "resurrection" or "surprise" lilies because it takes less than a week for the flowering shoot to emerge from the soil, elongate, and then flower; sometimes a lot less time. All the rain we've had has helped drive these flowering shoots out of the ground. I first noticed them last Thursday and now they're flowering. The downside to all Lycoris is the death of their foliage in the middle of the spring garden. The plants will produce clumps of strappy leaves later this fall that will last through the winter. Unfortunately they go dormant in the spring producing sodden masses of rotting foliage. Siting is important!

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