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? Elizabeth? Gail? Frances? Meems?