Ahhhhhhhh…..the joy of digging Heirloom Crinum bulbs out of compacted soil. Actually, digging Crinum bulbs out of any soil is game in itself. The bulbs are massive. I renamed Crinum bulbs “Big Boy” long ago. I have broken many shovels on digging up Crinum. Truly, it is a competition against the Crinum….a game of strength, endurance and fortitude. Let the best man, I mean, shovel win!!!!!
Yesterday, I decided to take my chances on a beautiful patch of Crinum in my front garden. These bulbs came from a dear friend’s old property. When her husband wanted the Crinum removed, I was the person for the job. I had planted the Crinum “temporarily” in my garden by my front door. (Never ever plant a Crinum in a temporary place, you will have to move it later) So, after I moved the clump (again) to it’s permanant home, I accidentally left a broken bulb in the ground. Literally, in a few years, that big boy produced about 25 bulbs. Unreal. That little broken bulb clump is what I dug up yesterday.
I had on my nice new Born shoes (my first real pair of shoes that fit…post flood) and the wrong shovel. I’m not sure what possesses someone like me to think “Hey! I’m going to attack a ridiculous situation with the wrong equipment, and hope everything goes as planned!”…..but that is exactly what I did.
The shovel was rounded, not my usual bulb-hunting spade. The dumb, rounded shovel survived the flood, and helped “muck out” the house. As I jumped on the shovel, and tried to pry up the bulb clump, the wood of the shovel was bending. Not good. All I need to to get whacked in the face, and knocked out by the dumb, rounded shovel……and then hear my husband say “I told you so!”
I worked about 10 minutes before I heard the ‘pop’ of the bulb, and pulled out my first Crinum offshoot. The whole project took about 30 minutes……one clump, from a broken bit of a Crinum. All in all, there were about 25 bulbs. The large ‘big boy’ was about the size of a small melon. I will pot up some of the babies to share, and plant the others in the back propogation garden at the Agape Haus Music Studio. I plan to do some research to see exactly what variety this Crinum is. All I know is that it blooms more like a delicate Spider Lilly, that the large flowered Crinum. In any case, it is lovely.
I have about 200 large Crinum clumps at my flooded house. Many more baby bulbs from Crinum seeds. The Crinum bulbs are dormant now, and digging is not as gruesome as it would be in the summer. I will be digging Crinum for the next few months, keeping track of how many shovels I break. Many of the old Crinum are well established…10 years in the same location. Old bulbs are the size of watermelons, and extremely heavy. I am not looking forward to the labor, but I am looking forward to seeing them flourish in their new home.
(Honestly, I am not sure why the above paragraph is in italics…..but it is early morning with only one cup of coffee, so I am leaving it.)
If you would like a baby Crinum bulb, please email me at email@example.com As always, you just pay for shipping and handling. All donations go to help local teenagers work the gardens.
Happy Crinum Gardening, my friends! May you not break a shovel while digging!