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A Flower Fest Full of Surprises

October 5, 2008

By MARY REID BARROW

By Mary Reid Barrow

Correspondent

You never know what special plants you might find for your home or garden when you shop at the Virginia Beach Garden Club Fall Flower Festival.

Roots & Shoots, a section that features old-fashioned favorites and hard-to-find plants from members’ gardens, is the star of the festival, being held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. A big variety of pansies, gardening supplies and gifts also are part of the event.

Proceeds support many community garden projects, the most recent being the entrance garden at St. Mary’s Home for Disabled Children in Norfolk.

Among the Roots & Shoots that have been rooted, divided or dug as seedlings from local gardens, you will find much-loved treasures such as lily of the valley (pink and white), ligularias, fatsias, ginger lilies, Solomon’s seal, ferns, poet’s laurel and a favorite of mine, rain lilies.

A few years ago, garden club member Donna Eure introduced me to these unusual little bulbs when she gave me some for my yard. Rain lilies are a delight , because they take you by surprise when they bloom.

They are so named because their flowers come up after it rains. One day you don’t see anything but green foliage; the next, seemingly out of nowhere, you see delicate white flowers, often tinged with pink, each on a slender, leafless stem.

“When the rains come,” Eure said, “you walk out to get the paper and there they are.”

Rain lilies are reminiscent of our native atamasco lily that lives along the edge of moist woods and blooms in the spring, also often after a rain. The two lilies are in the same genus, Zephyranthes.

Eure has separated her rain lily bulbs this fall and she has potted up some to be sold at the festival Wednesday. But don’t expect to see much in the pots .

“When you buy them, you’re buying a pot of little chivelike foliage,” she explained, “but they will burst into bloom after a summer storm.”

And after a fall rain, too. Rain lilies are full of surprises from June until frost.

Plant them in well-drained soil in a group for a big display, Eure advises. A low-maintenance groundcover, they grow up to 12 inches tall and will tolerate sun or light shade. Their foliage disappears in winter.

When you divide the bulbs every few years, it is as if you set them free. “If you replant them, they go crazy,” Eure said.

Sometimes, rain lilies are called fairy lilies, probably because they appear to have supernatural qualities.

P.S. Make a purchase from Plow & Hearth (www.plowandhearth.com) and the home and garden catalog will donate a tree seedling to one of three national forests of your choosing. Plow & Heath and the National Forest Foundation have launched Campaign to Re-Forest America, which aims to donate 1 million trees to forests in need by the end of 2009.

Mary Reid Barrow, barrow1@cox.net

WANT TO GO?

What Virginia Beach Garden Club Fall Flower Festival

When 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. , Wednesday

Where Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St.

Features Pansies, perennials, gardening supplies, jewelry, edibles, art, gifts and more.

if you go

What Virginia Beach Garden Club Fall Flower Festival

When 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday

Where Virginia Beach Convention Center, 1000 19th St.

Features Pansies, perennials, gardening supplies, jewelry, edibles, art, gifts and more.

Originally published by BY MARY REID BARROW.

(c) 2008 Virginian – Pilot. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.




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