Thursday, July 29, 2010

Global Warming and Neked Ladies

I'm sure most of you have been suffering with the hot weather. It's been at least 10 years since we had a summer with close to this many really hot days. I know that because it was the year we finally broke down and bought a window air conditioner. We've used it very little since both of us hate air conditioning, but it's nice to know it's there if we need it. Thankfully, most of the days haven't been as humid as they could be. I won't get into a discussion of whether this signifies global warming or not - this is a gardening blog, and I try to keep it unpolitical since politics don't have much place amongst the flowers, but I've heard plenty of talk from garden visitors about how much ahead of usual this season has been. Just as an example, here is a photo of Lycoris sprengeri 'Tie Dye'. I'm actually not totally sure when this one usually blooms, but I seem to remember the nights being cooler when it bloomed in the past. The next photos will be a better example, but I just love the 'gas flame blue' color of this one and wanted to share it. It is not fussy and like the other Lycoris, puts up long strap-like foliage in the spring. The foliage disappears awhile later, maybe when the daffodil foliage goes away, and than in late summer, up pop these tall scapes full of gorgeous flowers, totally leafless and appearing almost overnight. This is a totally un-retouched photo and, at least on my computer, the colors are true.

This next photo is Hosta plantaginea. It's not one of those fancy variegated ones, but has large, shiny, green leaves. It has been know as the Assumption Lily (hostas are/were - they keep changing the families - in the lily family) and always bloomed on about August 15th which is the Feast of the Assumption. This photo was taken a couple of days ago, so almost 3 weeks ahead of schedule. If you don't know this variety, the best thing you should know about it is how wonderful the flowers smell. Your whole yard will be scented at certain times of the day. This is an old plant and all of its children seem to pick up the lovely scent in their flowers. A couple of them are Hosta 'Guacamole' and 'Fried Green Tomatoes'.
The sure sign, though, that things are out of whack, is that the Neked Ladies, Lycoris squamigera bloomed yesterday. These always, like clockwork, at least as long as I can remember, appear on or about August 15th. One day the scape appears, the next day the flowers start to open. Again, like the one above, no leaves this time of year, just these 2 foot tall (maybe a little taller) scapes with pink flowers. Bloom time seems to not be dependent on sun or shade, because we have them in both places and they always bloom on the same day. I didn't plant them, but they came with the farm and were probably planted by Mrs. Rhoric back in the 1940s. Her daffodils live on here too. Do you have 'antique' flowers in your gardens. I think it's wonderful to have parts of her garden still here after all these years.

Tomorrow I'll get a photo up of the variegated Callicarpa I talked about and probably a few other goodies too. There is also a post coming on the huge flowered hibiscus. I just need a few more photos for that one.

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