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The Oxblood lilies always surprise me–  Just when I think the garden holds nothing new, they pop out of some pretty rough ground looking fresh and colorful.    

The great Elizabeth Lawrence introduced me to this plant in her book, A Southern Garden.  If you want to garden in the South, find a copy of this classic, first printed in 1942.  No glossy pictures, but the best info about what will grow here, what and when to plant it. 

Modern author and bulb expert, Scott Ogden, likes Oxblood lily too. “No other Southern bulb can match the fierce vigor, tenacity and adaptability of the Oxblood lily,” he says in handy reference book, Garden Bulbs for the South. 

I agree.  In my garden they bloom  without any care or extra water at the base of a giant Lonicera fragratissima which often shades them heavily, until I spot the red flowers  and cut the branches back. 

Oxblood Lilies not only survive in this difficult spot–they multiply. 

It’s one of those plants with some name confusion.  Look for Rhodopbiala bifida or the older latin name, Hippeastrum advenum.  Better yet,  just call it Oxblood Lily. 

Another late summer bulb that I love goes by the colorful common name, Pink Naked Ladies .  When  Amaryllis belladonna  jumped out of the front ferns on a 98 degree day earlier this month, I felt like an absolute genius. 

And because good things come in threes, here’s a look at my all time favorite late bulb–the Red Spider Lily.  Hymenocallis is an old Southern plant that makes lovely drifts along the woods paths every September. 

It took me years to get enough of these bulbs to make an impact.  And I’m really glad I kept at it.  They give me color at a time and place where nothing else blooms. 

Bret and Becky’s Bulbs is a great source for these bulbs (if you order in the spring).      A family owned Virginia company, I really like giving them my business.  Once I called with a daffodil question and Bret answered the phone.  Can’t beat that kind of service. 

Terra Ceia in Pango, NC  often stocks spider lilies.  I’ve had really good luck buying from them, too. Put this plant on your list for spring. 

And yes, daffodils are wonderful–but they are anticipated, even anxiously awaited at my house.  Late bulbs just jump out of the ground and surprise.  You should grow them.

A long-time gardener and a passionate beginner share the dirt on their NC gardens-

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