I’ve grown an unknown crinum lily for many years. It’s a passalong from my parents’ garden and I’m certain that it was my mom who bought or was gifted this lovely thing, as flowers were the key driver to her gardening passion. Dad liked his veggies, green shrubs, and fruit trees, but Mom was all about the blooms.
For a long time after I planted it, the crinum didn’t bloom. Of course, I was disappointed; similar to my mom, blooms are boss in my gardening heart. But I like the foliage and have contented myself with appreciation of its beauty. The glossy, arching, bright green foliage emerges in spring from large bulbs and by late spring, and through the remainder of the growing season, are lush and graceful focal points in the garden.
In the last few years, the crinums’ years-long sulk over growing in a new home has ended and it has relented its stubborn non-bloom policy, adding some spring-pink to my hot July garden. The bloom stalks appear, seemingly overnight and I never notice the soon-to-be blooms until shortly before they open up.
The buds tease, at first pointing deep pink toward the summer sky, eventually weighing heavily enough to gently bend their stems in a bow. The petal tips purse for a kiss, the flowers take time to reveal themselves in full. But within a day or so, the bell-shaped beauties unlock, curl outward, and soft pink opens itself to the world.
While not a strong attractor of pollinators, I’ve seen a few carpenter bees nose around the inner workings of the flowers; I don’t know if their interest was rewarded with any treats of pollen or nectar. I typically like my plants to feed something, to serve a purpose more than beauty. But if the crinums’ role are limited to being pretty faces in the garden, with no real offering of sustenance, I’m fine with that.
I’m rewarded in early-to-mid summer with these charming flowers and for most of the year with the foliage of this tough and attractive plant.
Thanks Mom and Dad–for your flowers and your love.