Who knew there were crinum rustlers?

A sweet package from my friend, Curtiss Ann

A sweet package from my friend, Curtiss Ann

If you said yes, raise your hand so I can see it.

I sure didn’t.  Of course, I know about the Texas Rose Rustlers.  By now, who hasn’t heard of those intrepid souls sneaking into cemeteries and clambering over abandoned homesteads, taking clippings here and there, thus saving antique and heirloom roses from disaster?

I’m always a sucker for a good story.

In an unexpected Christmas package containing a Crinum bulbispermum, Orange River lily, from Curtiss Ann, there was information from Lushlife Nurseries about “Cemetery Lilies.”  Crinums were quite the fashion in the 1950s, and with their bright pink, purple and red blooms, of course they were.  According to Lushlife, horticulturists worked throughout the decade to create bigger and better flowering varieties.  Many of these were planted along Highway 301 in South Carolina in the rusting courtyards of abandoned motor courts or motels.

In her new Alabama home, Curtiss Ann has dozens of these planted by the previous owners under the pecan trees, and she wanted me to have some too.  I already grow milk and wine lilies from Joan of my daylily club, one of the many variants of Crinum x herbertii. Last fall, I noticed they were finally thriving (their second year in the garden). My Christmas present bulb is huge and should also be prolific once it’s had a season to settle in.

Some websites list this crinum hardy to Zone 5.   Somehow, I doubt that, but I bet it will thrive in Zone 7.  Now, my question is, do I plant it outdoors on a warm day, or should I plant it in a pot in the garage and overwinter it until spring?  Where are my bulb experts?  My southern plant experts?  ElizabethGail? Frances? Meems?


9 comments on “Who knew there were crinum rustlers?

  1. Brenda Kula

    Don’t know anything about them myself. But if they’re hardy, they’ll rise to the occasion.
    .-= Brenda Kula´s last blog ..New Fence, Clown Fish & A Gift =-.

    Brenda, I’m going to give it a try.~~Dee

  2. Pam's English Garden

    Dee, I look forward to following the progress of your crinum. They will not grow in my zone 5 garden. You have a great friend to send you such a wonderful gift! Pamela

    Pam, thanks. She is a wonderful friend.~~Dee

  3. Frances

    Dear Dee, how wonderful for you to get this plant. We had them in Houston, they were a bit of a thing there. I would go with the pot in the garage for this year, just to be safe. Thanks for the link love and good luck with it. 🙂
    .-= Frances´s last blog ..Searching For December Bloom Day =-.

    Frances, I think they are quite popular in many hotter climes. I hope it does well here too. I think I will pot it up in the garage. Thanks.~~Dee

  4. Lisa at Greenbow

    I will be interested in seeing what you do and how it reacts. I would love to try one here in 6b. I didn’t think they would grow here. Hmmmmm

    I don’t know, Lisa. That might be asking too much of them. I guess you could bring them in for the winter.~~Dee

  5. CurtissAnn

    Honey-Bunny, I love following along on the journey with the crinum! I would vote for over-wintering in a pot, too. Just to be safe, although I have read the quote from some gardener: “There’s never been an crinum that died.” Good thing, since I had all that rain, was afraid they would drown. I’m sooo blessed to have them, amazes me daily. Looking forward to next summer!

    Sending hugs,
    .-= CurtissAnn´s last blog ..It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas =-.

    Curtiss Ann, I’m so glad you read that quote. I have just the pot for this crinum. Thank you so much my dear.~~Dee

  6. Helen

    I have a Crinum but am still waiting for it to bloom – maybe next year

    Helen, I can’t wait to see it when it does.~~Dee

  7. VW

    You wrote that in her new home, ‘Curtis Ann has dozens of these planted by the previous owners under the pecan trees’. So were the previous owners buried in their own backyard? Or am I confused? Having their spirits haunting the place might make it difficult to make any major changes to the garden 🙂
    I enjoyed the neglected crinums growing in a neighboring rental back when we lived in mild California. Maybe I should try and see if they would overwinter in a protected spot in my zone 5b yard, but only if I find some cheap so I won’t feel bad if they expire.
    .-= VW´s last blog ..Classic Christmas Poinsettias =-.

    VW, you are so funny. I had to read that twice to get it. Glad they aren’t haunting her garden.~~Dee

  8. Gail

    I don’t know anything about these beauties…But, I am going to check E Lawrence books to see what she has to say! Well, she says you can move them anytime, but fall is the best time. I say pot in the garage and then plant in the spring. This is very exciting. I followed the links and had a good read! gail
    .-= Gail´s last blog ..It’s A Wonderful Time Of The Year! December GBBD =-.

    Yes, Gail, that’s a good idea. Now, where are those Elizabeth Lawrence books when you need them?~~Dee

  9. Mr. McGregor's Daughter

    I’ve got to give this Crinum a try. I bet I can get it through a winter. I’m not a bulb expert, but here’s my 2 cents: plant it in a pot and keep it in the garage until spring. But then I’m a bit cautious.
    .-= Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog ..A Christmas Miracle for Bloom Day =-.

    Let me know how one works for you MMD and thanks for the advice.~~Dee