annie blog

Lycoris Radiata


I distinctly remember the first time I really noticed the surprise lily, or Spider Lily, as they’re generally known here in Mississippi. I’m pretty sure that I had seen them before in my life, but I hadn’t really noticed them until they began popping up in the front yard at the farmhouse where Jon and I lived our first year of marriage.

We rented the house from a great old farmer, Mr. Blocker. I have no idea how old he was back then, I’m assuming mid to late 70s. He was still actively farming, but I think he was also interested in what the newlyweds were up to, and so he sometimes turned up on weekend mornings.

Anyway, to have dozens of these gorgeous, red-orange lilies pop up in my yard was unexpected and delightful occurrence for me. One Saturday morning, Mr. Blocker came along to find me joyfully picking an armful of them. I was so happy about it, in fact, that he playfully accused me, saying, “What you so happy about this mornin’? You been up drinkin’ margaritas or sompthin?”

He was a hoot.

Fast forward twenty or so years, and I find myself back in Starkville, and guess what just came up in my yard?

Yes, spider lilies. And, the master gardener who lived here before us arranged them so well. Instead of popping up just willy-nilly in the front yard, they’re arranged on the edge of beds with beautiful plantings behind them.

I’ve always loved the color red-orange. Always. So, in this house that I have been painting for the past four months, I decided that I really wanted a red-orange room. Most of the rooms are white, because I really like that too, except for the boys rooms –which they all wanted to be blue. What is it with boys, and blue? Anyway, I finally settled on a color and I painted and painted — trying to use color to unite a room which, before, had borne five different wall coverings in all — real brick, fake brick, shingle siding, bookshelves, and pine paneling.

It’s a funny color. Sometimes it looks red, sometimes orange, and once at the very end of a day it looked to be a deep salmon pink. I didn’t really have a name for it, until now.

Now, I know what it is.

See? It’s spider lily red.


Happy Monday, y’all!

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