September 07, 2022
I’ve made the transition from the Texas heat of the past week to the dry, cool, high-desert climate of Santa Fe. It was a great trip, but the whole time I was away I was bummed that I was missing one of my late summer favorites at home: the eruption of oxblood lilies that pop up practically overnight after a late summer rain. As soon as we got back I rushed out and saw dozens of flaming red trumpets in the soapy water. Perfect timing!
oxblood lily (Rhodophiala bifida) is an Argentine bulb that thrives in Austin’s warm, humid subtropical climate. It lies dormant all summer until the days get shorter and a triggering rain comes and then boom – They have.
Like Texas bluebonnets, they are small in size but pack a punch when massed together.
You can increase your number of bulbs by digging them up and dividing them in late fall or winter, after they have flowered but before the green leaves (which later sprout) have disappeared. However, I never think of sharing mine. They are now growing under the thorny aloe arms, so that discourages me too. They don’t think so. Trumpets have been blowing for years. I am glad to see them, these heralds of fall.
Datura also responds to the rain with its giant white trumpet, which wafts a sweet fragrance through the garden at night.
After exploring Georgia O’Keefe’s country in New Mexico, her paintings of datura reconnected me to that majestic landscape. I have pictures for you soon.
For now I’m luxuriating — like the garden — in summer’s gradual regret. It ain’t over till it’s over. But it’s a start.
The hummingbirds that visit my garden every day must appreciate the grace of the reawakened flowers. We made it through.
I welcome your comments. Scroll to the end of this post to leave a. If you’re reading an email, click here to go to Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post. And hey, did someone forward you this email and you want to subscribe? Click here to have Digging delivered straight to your inbox!
Learn about garden design from the experts here Garden Spark! I host private talks with inspiring designers, landscape architects, and writers several times a year in Austin. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Just click on this link and ask to be added. You can find this year’s speaker lineup here.
All material © 2022 by Pam Penick for Excavation. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.