We had a mystery plant in the garden last year, just a low rosette of large shiny leaves that looked quite a lot like skunk cabbage. Brooks (the gardener) and I discussed what it might be and whether we recalled planting it. Well, this year it was back with a vengeance; it grew and grew and grew with bright waxy heart shaped leaves and a 'Jack and the beanstalk' growth habit. At long last it began to set blooms and then one day, there they were - about 15 gorgeous creamy white lily blooms with lovely dark ruby red throats and a delicious fragrance. Finally I recalled that my neighbor Sally had given me one of her Cardiocrinum lily babies and the mystery was solved. The very best news is that our baby is now a Mom. She has produced 6 more little plants at her feet which we will carefully dig and divide so we can enjoy the show in other parts of the garden in years to come. Of course this time we won't plant it under a dwarf cherry tree - this spectacular lily grew to 12'
CARDIOCRINUM (kar-dee-o-KRI-hum)LILIACEAE. Giant Himalayan lilies, grown for their striking display.—Cardiocrinum giganteum. 'GIANT HIMALAYAN LILY'. The most magnificent of all lilies, reaching 9 - 12 feet tall, with racemes of 6 - 20 deliciously scented white flowers, each 6" long and nearly as wide. May & June. Large heart-shaped leaves. Himalayas, in damp, shady forest, 7500 to 10,600 feet. Easily grown in light sandy soil. Hardy to Boston. Sow in fall outdoors to germinate and give top growth the next spring. Flowers in 5 - 6 years.