Lycoris squamigera

Jim McKenney
Mon, 22 Aug 2005 07:35:29 PDT
I've just come in from weeding part of the garden. It's my fault: I
neglected this area for the last month and it shows. Most of the time was
spent pulling Pinellia pedatisecta: it's a yard high here and nothing seems
to bother it. Those of you wishing to expand the more colorful aspects of
your vocabulary should have been here: I let fly a few good ones. 

I was visiting in western Virginia over the weekend. Lycoris squamigera was
in bloom in small town front yard gardens everywhere. Some of the clumps
were so big that they must have been there for a long time. Most seem to
have been planted as an afterthought, with no regard for companion planting
or overall effect. Or maybe they were the survivors of what was once a
thriving flower bed and now was nothing more than a bare scrape in a coarse
lawn. This is obviously a plant which can take care of itself. 

In one well-tended garden which I examined closely, the Lycoris squamigera
was better than I had ever seen it: and the eight or so flowering stems
which caught my eye from a distance were only the beginning of the show:
many more were on the way up. 

Every time I saw one of those isolated, seemingly neglected clumps thrusting
up from rough, bare earth, I imagined some suitable companion plant. The one
which I really want to try here is Ageratum houstonianum or the look-alike
Eupatorium coelestinum. The Ageratum I have in mind are the tall loose ones,
not the short compact ones. 

I missed a good photo opportunity here in my own neighborhood. While driving
around last week, I spotted a long row of Lycoris squamigera in bloom in
front of a board fence. They had been planted among daylilies. The foliage
of the daylilies was a mess and really detracted from the beauty of the
Lycoris flowers. Next year, maybe I'll stop by a bit earlier in the season
and ask the owners to trim the daylily foliage before the Lycoris emerge.
Just kidding, but I wish I could think of a tactful way of getting them to
do it. 

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where perhaps I need to be
reminded that I have enough of my own weeds to pull without being concerned
about other people's weeds. 

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