It is the last few days of July and my gardens have been under stress from heat and drought since the last week of May. That is a long time experiencing consistent record high temperatures topped off by little or no rainfall. Mornings and evenings have been spent dragging hoses and sprinklers from one section to the next attempting to keep plants from dying. Some things simply gave up and went dormant early. There is success keeping plants from passing away on me, but they sure look ragged around the edges.
I did my part to help all I could, and the garden has responded as best it can. After all, my gardens have no choice but to bloom where they are, as best they can. Two plants, of exceptional note, are in full bloom in spite of drought, record high temperatures, and it being late July when blooms can be a bit scarce in a woodland garden.
Hymenocallis occidentalis, or Spider Lily, is my favorite native lily bulb. It behaves much like the resurrection lily, or naked lady, in that long strap-like foliage has pretty much disappeared by mid-July. Then a nude scape rapidly rises from the soil topped with large pristine-white blooms. Long narrow petals are connected with what appears to be spider webbing at their base, thus the common name. This lily reaches about two feet in height. In nature, spider lily is found along stream banks and seepage. I have grown spider lily in my garden for 12 years or more and can relate that extra moisture is not a demand. While it may prefer a moist spot, it will do just fine with compost and mulch. Mine is located in the root system of a conifer.
Lilium specisoum rubrum, Red Showy Lily, is not only attractive to me, it is also a butterfly magnet. Stout stems reach about 4 feet in height. Blooms are crimson-rose with white edged petals. Over the crimson are rough spots of magenta, contrasted by the pinkish-white centers. A true show stopper especially under present gardening conditions. Plenty of light is required for good flower production. Too much shade and they will lean toward the source of most light.
Just looking at these two lilies in bloom makes me feel better about all the time and effort spent gardening in spite of less than perfect weather.Continue reading