Jul 20, 2010


Surprise lilies are not so surprising around here, but it's always fun to see them pop up in the middle of summer.  The pink ones are botanically known as Lycoris squamigera and are hardy to zone 5.  We also call them naked (or in these parts, nekkid) ladies because they have no foliage to go with their blooms - the strappy leaves springs up earlier in the season, then dies back before the bloom stalks appear.

Their red-blooming cousins, Lycoris radiata, should put in their annual appear soon - they're barely hardy in this area, but I think I saw their foliage this spring, so I'm hopeful they'll be along shortly.

I've had these bulbs in place for several years, but it's only been in the last few summers that they've bloomed.  I paid penance for transplanting them at the wrong time (they can sulk for a long time if you move them too much or at the wrong time.)

The bulbs are planted beneath a [expletives deleted] silver maple, amid a swath of hardy plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, which is a mouthful!)  Unfortunately, the hardy plumbago usually waits until after the ladies have come and gone before it puts on its full flush of electric-blue blooms.  So much for my attempts to orchestrate mother nature.

The fish are growing - I think they've at least doubled their size since we brought them home.  Of course, they should be growing, as much food as they devour each day!  I could be wrong, but I think one of the shubunkins is preggers.  Guess we'll know soon enough.  There's also a tiny frog that lives somewhere close to the pond.  I hope he finds himself a good place to hang out for the season - we could use his help controlling the mosquito population.  The toad hut went unrented this season...maybe next year we'll have tenants.