Thursday, August 13, 2015

Lycoris: prima donna of the oporanthous garden

Bobbie Lively-Diebold talks about her lycorises. 

The feast continues: this is the third post I’ve done this month relating to lycorises in our gardens. If the first one was a sort of hors d’oeuvre, and the second one a soup course, then this one, with over thirty images, must be the main course and dessert both. That I was able to be there and photograph these is mostly due to pure luck and serendipitous timing.  Some of the images could be better – they were shot at about 7:30 P.M as we moved quickly through the garden. Names might follow later as the planting charts are consulted, and as they become available I’ll update this post.
Our queen of the lycoris measures her domain in tens of acres and has been collecting them for tens of years. Where most of us get a sprout or two here and there in the garden, her plants sprout in thick clumps, like handfuls of bird seed dropped on damp ground. This week the turgid, buxom, sapid (but don’t eat them) scapes are pushing up like elegant asparagus throughout her garden. They  cluster tightly together like patricians surrounded by the unwashed, as if they feared being touched and contaminated by the coarseness around them.
Bobbie and I have been friends for decades, but she moved to a new place about two hours away, and I don’t get out to her place often. Years ago I had seen her lycorises late in their season, and it was a memorable experience.  What I saw yesterday was amazing. 

Lycoris chinensis 

More getting started.

A promise of things to come...

Another clump just beginning

This next group of four are either Lycoris sprengeri or hybrids with that species in their background.

Lycoris longituba 

Sorry about the names, but these images will give you an idea of the wonderful effect these plants can produce in the garden.  

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