Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Gloriosa Lily

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A number of years ago on a trip to South Alabama (LA, or Lower, Alabama  to those in the know), I detoured by a house that had a day lilies for sale sign in the yard. LA appears to be the home of day lilies with a good number of homes offering them for sale. but on this occasion I was looking for something I had read about in one of my horticulture journals. Gloriosa Lily seemed a contradiction in terms. How could you have a climbing lily? But the pictures I had seen were unique and colorful, so in typical fashion-I don't grow it-I want it I started trying to chase this plant down. When I asked about it, the lady got a distant look in her eyes and said she might have one if she could find the bulbs.After several false starts digging in the sandy soil, she came up with a couple of flat things that I would have hesitated to call a bulb. they bloomed the next year and every year since. No telling what they would have done in the intervening years if I had planted it in a good spot. I planted it with an eye to what it could climb on, not the soil. It has done well in spite of me.
After the stem gets about 4 or 5 leaves it begins to lean and "search" for support. At the end of each leaf a tendril forms that will grab anything handy, another plant, shrub, fence, etc that will support it. My taller ones reach 6 feet. They last a long time on the plant and are purported to last even longer in a vase, but I cannot bear to cut them.The bulbs are two pronged and  thus double in number each year. I have been thinking of digging some of mine up and putting them in a better spot. But then I have been thinking of that for years. Maybe this fall..... 

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