I can just hear Gomer Pyle of the 1960’s tv series, The Any Griffin Show, saying “Surprise, Surprise!” as he enters the garden and spies these beautiful bright pinkish/red flowers. These beautiful autumn flowers (Lycoris radiata) seem to appear over night,
The Red Spider Lily blooms around the Autumn Equinox every year, telling you that cooler weather is on the way. It’s surprising trait is that the flower comes up out of the ground by itself, no leaves of the plant are visible. All you see is the stem with the flower. When the flower fades, the leaves start becoming visible.
There are several legends about the Red Spider Lily or Lycoris Radiata. They revolve around death of dear loved ones as they pass from the world of the living. In Chinese culture it is called “Flower of the Other Shore” or ” Flower of Paradise”. It is said that in the underworld, the Forgotten River separates the underworld and the living world. When your dear one crosses to the other side all memories of their past life will disappear. Growing on the shore are the Lilies. The scent of these beautiful flowers will bring back all the beautiful memories for one last time.
Another legend says that when a relationship ends, a Red Spider Lily will grow along the Forgotten. River, proving that the love did exist and something beautiful will always remain at the other side of the shore.
These flowers have been growing in this spot at the entrance of the CORA Garden for more that 20 years. Of course they have multiplied, divided, and shared with friends for years. This spot is where my late husband built the cedar garden statue that welcomes all to the garden. It is also where his ashes were spread in 2001. When I researched the lily, I was “surprised” that the legend perfectly describes the area where they are planted.
This has been one of my favorite flowers, not only for it’s beauty but for the magical way it grows. It is also a reminder of the memory of a wonderful life lived to the fullest.