Opening Up

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.

22 thoughts on “Opening Up

  1. It is frustrating when a plant just sits without blooming. Being patient paid off. It is really nice to have a plant from your parents. I have a plant from my grandparents that I have carried back and forth across the country for 45 years.

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    • It is, to be sure. I have to attribute my not having ripped it out years ago to the fact that I like the foliage and that the bulbs were from my parents’ garden. So yes, a kind of patience was a good thing.

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  2. Tina it is wonderful that you have planted for years a plant that your mother gave you: the unknown crinum lily, I love it. That although it does not bloom for many years, the foliage is beautiful. The flower it has is divine and the color is very special: I love it. The best thing about the whole blog is the phrase you end up with: Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your flowers and your love. I identify with her, I love it. On July 6, if there are no more problems, my Mother’s eye is operated on for glaucoma and cataracts. Maybe she is absent because I have to take care of her – she has to be at rest – and I have to put drops in her eyes every three hours a day. Take good care of yourself and your husband. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

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  3. How nice for you to have nurtured a family heirloom these many years. I see that crinum was the Latinized version of krinon, the Greek word for lily. The marine invertebrates called crinoids (for example feather stars and sea lilies) were given that name for their supposed resemblance to lilies. In addition to your floral kind of garden, there are gardens of words.

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    • I didn’t really think of the crinums a heirlooms, but you’re so right. I’ve separated the originals several times, so that I now have 5 different groupings of them. Only two groups have bloomed and they’re the longest lived in their spots.

      Interesting about the word crinum. I like that you’re good about the etymology of words. I confess to a bit of laziness about that, so thanks for keeping me on my toes.

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  4. That’s pretty rad. My favorite iris came from the garden of my great grandmother, and now my great niece is taking a liking to it. It is from the garden of here great great great grandmother.

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