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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Crinums? Who knew?!

As you may recall...I just posted photos of my lilies here in my Summer Gardens post.

Well, I was WRONG! Can you believe? Yeah, me neither...that NEVER happens (ha...just ask Mr. Paisley)

Last night I picked up my July 2010 issue of Southern Living and what to my wandering eyes should not Santa...Crinums! That's what I have! They're not true lilies...and in fact they're related to the Amaryllis. DUH - why did it take an article to point out the nearly identical leaves between the two? Mr. Paisley and I relocated about 5 bazillion Amaryllis bulbs just a few months ago (and we missed some - i've seen more popping up where we removed the previously mentioned 5 bazillion). 

I have at least 6 bazillion Crinums. Based on the article Some Like it Hot I think they are a variety known as Mrs. James Hendry. "Pale pink flowers with a fruity fragrance"...or they could be Crinum Powellii "Prolific pink flowers in summer" either way, they were here when I bought the Paisley Cottage back in 1997 and they have multiplied 10 bazillion times over. I've given away my "lilies" pretty regularly and of course they just make more. 

Some things I learned from the article:
  • known as cemetery lilies - because they're no maintenance and they always look good
  • they were brought here on trade ships from Africa, India and Asia
  • they lost favor during the Civil War
  • enjoyed a brief resurgence during the roaring 20s
  • became a sought after collector's (turns out hoarders) item in the 50s
  • you don't find them in nurseries because they're slow growers (lucky you if you know me you can get them for free)
  • the 1950s collectors are now few and far between (ok, they've all pretty much died) and they took all their Crinum information with them
  • they favor lower, coastal and tropical south...however in the upper and middle south you can grown them in sheltered sites or containers brought in during the winter
  • the bulbs have to get BIG and it'll be 3-5 years before they bloom, but once they start - look out!
  • they tend to bloom after heavy rains (hello Florida summer - and mine are going crazy due to the recent downpours)
I'm telling you, these things are NO maintenance and will survive a nuclear blast (right next to the Florida Palmetto Bugs - aka roaches, and the alligators). I don't do anything with these plants. Sometimes I move some of them. I don't water them. I don't feed them. I don't dead head them. If we have a bad winter and some of the leaves get brown and ratty, I MIGHT strip those off...not for the plant of course...just to make the flower beds look cleaned up. The plant doesn't care.

In fact, i've dug them up to give away and FORGOTTEN about them...only to find them later...if near soil, they've re-rooted themselves. Most recently, when Mr. Paisley dug some up while trenching to wire the hot tub last spring, he left some laying on the driveway...they were sprouting leaves...bare bulbs laying on hot concrete in the hot Florida sun. Did I mention you can't kill them? THAT is the plant for me!

Here are some helpful links:
 Here are a few photos of mine that I took this afternoon...

side yard
beside the back porch (aka laundry room)
both sides of "the outhouse"
if you look hard you can spot some amidst all the weeds in the back 40
far side of the outhouse
beside the hot tub (that's ginger on the corner)
see? at least 5 bazillion little plants down in there
and flowers of course
after some more research, I don't think they're Mrs. James Hendry...i'm not sure what they are...
by the trash cans...remember how I said I forgot some I dug up? Yep...these are them...
same group by the trash cans...there were only 5 or 6 bulbs originally...
the giant one in the middle...that was on the of the originals that I dug up and forgot about


Crinum Lilies Canvas Print / Canvas Art - Artist James Temple