August 8, 2020

Magic lilies

When I built my house, my grandmother gifted me with perennials from her garden. I worked hard to make border flower beds and even harder to maintain them. 

It was a lost cause. We have too many white-tail deer around here, and they all seem to know when the buds and blooms are at their best. Deer-proof plants? Don't kid yourself. Deer will eat everything except daffodils. I've lived it and I know. These days, I'm content with a garden limited to a few things next to the patio and in pots. Sweating to provide the deer with "salad greens" is not part of my plan.

One of the many bulbs my grandmother gave to me were magic lilies, sometimes called naked lilies. Or vice versa. It hardly matters to me which is right or wrong. To her, they were magic lilies and so they will always be to me, too. 

In the spring, the bulbs send up sturdy green leaves resembling the greens of a daffodil. Then the greens turn brown and yellow and die off. When that happens, it's best to cut them off. Don't pull them because they may still be firmly attached and you could uproot the bulb. 

Wait for it...

Around the first week of August, pale pinkish-green stalks appear. They may be three or four inches tall one day, and twenty inches tall the next. It happens that fast. Then they open lovely, lacy, delicate pink blooms that last perhaps a week if you're lucky and the deer don't mangle them. After about a week, the stalks fall over. 

I let the stalks lie where they fall because the next year or two, there will likely be a new magic lily where the seed pod developed. It's a haphazard way of getting more bulbs, but it works for me. 

Here on the manor, we know we can't always improve on the ways of Mother Nature. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

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