Botanist's Lens: Summer Pinks

Updated: Aug 19

Naked Ladies, Zinnias, and Cannas

Lycoris squamigera, 'Naked Lady Lily' flowers among the Hostas

In the heat of summer, when most pastel colors have faded from the color palette, there are flowers of Lycoris squamigera, Zinnias, and some Cannas that can add the soft pinks back to the canvas again.


Lycoris squamigera flower stalks straight up form the ground, no leaves, hence the common name 'Naked Lady Lily'

Naked Ladies (Lycoris squamigera)

Lycoris squamigera, most commonly and famously known as the 'Naked Lady Lily,' is a woodland summer treasure. The flowers are pastel pink, fragrant and the stalks stand tall and naked, AKA without any leaves at the bottom at all. The bulbs sends out only leaves in the spring and much after the leaves die down, the flower stalks come up in mid summer.


If you are looking for a bulb to soften the deep greens of your woodland gardens, then Lycoris squamigera will do just the trick. Currently at London Town, they are blooming in the spring walk and in the ornamental gardens amongst the Hostas.




Zinnias (Zinnia marylandica and Zinnia elegans)

A summer's must for the sun gardens is a Zinnia. There are ample colors and forms to choose from. Two of my picks are: Zinnia marylandica and Z. elegans. Amongst the bright colors, there are some soft pastels colors easily available to add softness to a summer garden.


As a kid, I remember picking Zinnias from high elevation valleys of India, a carpet of sturdy bright flowers, a sight to behold. Zinnias are easiest to start from seed and grow outdoors after frost, they are also easy to transplant even for the little ones. They are treated as annuals in Mid Atlantic, but you can store the flower heads and spread the seeds out in spring for more. (More information: https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/zinnia-elegans/)



Cannas

Lastly, Cannas must be made synonymous with summers! Summer gardens would be incomplete without bursts of Cannas. Even though they are also treated as annuals in zone 7, they can be hardy and come back, if planted in a frost protected garden bed. Canna 'Coral pink' is one of the Cannas blooming at London Town. (More information: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=264586&isprofile=0&)


Zinnias and Canna varieties have ample pinks to add to a full sun summer garden, but nothing can beat the Naked Lady Lily's pastel pinks in the woodland gardens. Summer flowers, pink or bolder, have colors that seem to last longer like the long sunny days of summer.



Fall Plant Sale

Member & Volunteer Preview: Friday, September 25, 12:00pm - 4:00pm General Admission: Saturday, September 26, 9:00am - 2:00pm Historic London Town & Gardens 839 Londontown Rd, Edgewater 21037 FREE TO ATTEND! Members & Volunteers get 10% off (Become a member today!)


Our annual sale moves to September! This is an important fundraiser for London Town. All proceeds go to support the gardens at London Town. Thank you for supporting a local 501c3 nonprofit (tax ID: 52-1396159)


What Will You Find At The Sale?

  • Plants hardy to zone 7a and 7b and that do well in heavy clay and sand mix.

  • Plants that are well represented in our gardens and are thriving in various habitats at London Town, including: woodland gardens (filtered shade); rain gardens and ornamental gardens

  • Our stock comes from reputed vendors and is hand picked

  • Part of our plant material is lifted and transplanted form the gardens and is well accustomed to clay/sand mix found at London Town

  • 80% of our stock is exotic plants that are of high botanical and ornamental value. But we will have a few natives too

List of plants for sale will be available in early September. Stay tuned!



Members & Volunteers Only: Plant Sale Pre-Order Members and Volunteers can pre-order select plants from now until August 31st.  Order online here

  • You must be a member or existing volunteer to participate. If not a member already, please join us here.

  • Members & Volunteers receive 10% off all pre-orders and all orders during the Plant Sale.

  • Pick up your order at London Town during the following windows:

  • ​Wednedsay, 09/23: 10:00am - 1:00pm

  • Thursday, 09/24: 10:00am - 1:00pm

  • Friday 09/25: 12:00pm (Noon) - 4:00pm

  • Saturday, 09/26: 9:00am - 2:00pm

  • Questions? Contact us at gardens@historiclondontown.org