Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

After the Rain, the Rain Lilies

We were all so lucky to get rain over the weekend.  But some of us were luckier still -- we got rain lilies.  This pretty little flower, native to somewhere in the New World Tropics, has been a passalong plant for decades in the south.  It thrives in full sun, partial sun or very high shade.  Rain lilies bloom in the late spring through late summer, particularly after a dry spell and a thorough rain.  They grow from bulbs which multiply fairly rapidly, and produce trumpet-shaped flowers on 6-8" stems, in shades of pink, yellow, white and red.  They have a pretty, delicate grass-like foliage that will remind you of liriope.  In fact, I have some rain lilies planted in amongst the liriope -- it makes for a nice surprise after a summer shower.

It's hard to trick rain lilies into blooming.  I have heard if you thoroughly drench them during a dry spell, they will often respond with blooms.  But they are very reliable bloomers after an actual rainstorm.  There's so much that happens during a rainstorm that doesn't happen when we water, even if we use collected rainwater.  Although I have no evidence for it at all, I think they must be sensitive to the temperature drop or changes in atmospheric pressure.

Look for rain lilies where southern bulbs are sold, in catalogs, or occasionally in independent garden centers.

No comments:

Post a Comment