Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Monday, September 10, 2012

My Toad Lily Miracle

OK, "miracle" is probably too strong a word, a bit of unjustified hyperbole. What should I call it instead?

A fortuitous result of an unintended mishap?

Last year I had only one toad lily in my dry shade bed. Now I have three. And I didn't buy any new ones.




Back in March, when they built and installed my new fence and gate, they had to dig up an area of my dry shade bed in order to put in concrete piers for the stone towers that now stand on each side of the gate. Most of the perennials that were in the way were showing signs of growth then, so the installer dug them carefully and replanted them in bare spots to get them out of the way. But my toad lily was still asleep in the ground, and when they dug, not realizing it, they split the roots into many pieces.

When they were done, and it was time to put the uprooted perennials back, I had a feeling they had probably dug up the toad lily. So I sifted carefully through a pile of soil and took a look at the clumps of roots. I had three that were a good size and still seemed to have some life in them. So, just to see what would happen, I planted each of them in a different spot in that bed.

I didn't even actually know for sure that those roots were my toad lily. I could have been propagating a weed.

Most of the time when you divide a perennial, you do it carefully, hoping both divisions will thrive. It's not usually done via brute force and ignorance, although sometimes brute force is required with particularly difficult plants. Sometimes even carefully divided plants don't live, for no reason that you can fathom.

I honestly did not think all three of them would live. But now I have three toad lilies. And two of them are flowering!



  1. How fortuitous!!! I just bought a second Toad lily...the first one was pink, new one is purple. LOVE THEM... BIG SMILE!!!

  2. This makes me chuckle...Sometimes I can almost hear the plants saying,"Silly humans,we will do what we want." We are so careful with things and a lot of times failure. Next thing you know there is some 'volunteer' coming on strong, always a happy surprise just like your determined Toad Lilies. xo

  3. What a great surprise! It sometimes amazes me how tolerant some perennials can be. Your flowers look larger than mine. I just had my first bloom and it's beautiful, but so tiny I can barely see it. I am hoping they will be larger next year.

  4. Hooray for your miraculous Toad lilies! Cool surprise!

  5. Yay! I'm a firm believer that plants actually WANT to grow. Sometimes I think the opposite is true though and they prefer death, just to spite me. But reading about your fortuitous result of an unintended mishap gives me hope.

    I had a nice Toad lily plant for two years but it died. I always miss their sweet blossoms this time of year.

  6. You have my permission to call it a miracle...not that I am in any way empowered to give it.

  7. Wonderful outcome to the Toad lily's near brush with death. I know what you mean about some plants being tenderly transplanted and tended to and still keeling over and others take a huge beating and flourish. Beautiful blooms!

    I just saw your earlier post on the bottle tree, what a beauty! I love glass in the garden and you've got a perfect showcase for it.


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