How does your garden grow?

Louise Grabell, Pinal County Master Gardener

Strange things are happening [remember that line…Red Buttons]. It’s so darn hot outside that I decided to tell you about some strange things…as gardening goes…that you might enjoy over a cool glass of iced tea inside your cool house. Before I begin, a few garden reminders for this monsoon season: 1. if you forgot to fertilize your citrus at the end of May, it’s not too late and the rains will carry it into the soil; 2. if you foolishly turn off your irrigation timer because of the rain, you must remember to turn it back on; 3. fertilize monthly for flowering annuals to maintain good blooming performance and 4. cactus in containers must be exposed to the rains or your watering can!

OK, so here’s what’s strange. Early this spring I spotted two shoots of what looked like amaryllis. Problem was the shoots appeared about eight feet from the closest amaryllis bulbs, and as far as I know, amaryllis don’t jump around the garden! I thought that perhaps I had moved some soil and unknowingly transported these two small bulbs or maybe they were in the soil amendment product I used. Well, happy to have two more amaryllis to add to my collection; I left the bulbs to grow. Much to my surprise, a tall stem with a bud on the end appeared one day…I mean it, like overnight! Within a few days, the beautiful flower appeared, a flower I had never seen before. I know my readers think I know everything about every plant, but I don’t! So, I sent this photo out to my Master Gardeners and got an answer almost immediately: it’s a spider lily [Hymenocallis]. OK, so the identity of the mystery plant was solved. But how did it get into my garden? Is there a Flower Fairy? I certainly never planted it. One suggestion was that the skunk that rototills my garden had it attached to his paw and he inadvertently brought it to me. Huh? I suppose this mystery will never be resolved, but I am now the proud owner and caretaker of two spider lily bulbs which, if you already grow amaryllis, you should consider for your garden, too.

The second strange thing is interesting but not as mysterious. I turn all my soil in the spring, adding amendments as I go to prepare my garden for planting summer annuals. After all the planting was done, and two months have passed, I noticed a strange leafy plant growing up through some zinnias that were already in a bed. Long story short, a dwarf dahlia had survived my digging and turning of the soil and reappeared much to my surprise. Of course, I had to remove and replant the zinnia somewhere else!

Your Master Gardeners invite you to visit their website: for all up-to-date information and events for your community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459.

Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.