Mystery bulb --- Hymenocallis

Jim McKenney
Wed, 15 Jun 2005 14:57:44 PDT
Carol, this reminds me of one of my first experiences as a gardening

When I was about eleven or twelve years old, I had an older friend who did a
lot to encourage my interest in gardening. One summer I told her about my
Peruvian daffodils, as Hymenocallis calathina (one of the parents of H. x
festalis) is often called. I talked about them enthusiastically, and talked
her in to trying them. 

Her one question, which she repeated over and over, was "do they have leaves
when they bloom? They're not like an amaryllis, are they?" I
enthusiastically assured her that they did have leaves and not a bare stalk
like an amaryllis, not so much because I was sure they did, but because I
sensed that she would not want them is they did not have leaves at bloom

In retrospect, I'm sure that she knew the plant and knew that they did not
bloom with a full compliment of leaves: she was testing me. I guess I
flunked the test. Or maybe that's what convinced her to spend so much time
with me: I obviously had a lot to learn. 

When grown as we grow them here - that is, outside for the summer and dug
and stored dry for the winter, the flower scape grows before the leaves are
much if at all developed. Most of the leaves come later. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where I have not yet planted
out my various Hymenocallis. 

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