Gardening is full of surprises. Although I've just said it, I think most gardeners already know that. I've been both pleasantly surprised and unpleasantly surprised, however, by the notion that the longer I garden, the more surprises I get.
This "Surprise Lily", hidden behind a dwarf Alberta Spruce and in front of a struggling clematis, is an example of the mixed benefits of garden serendipity. I love Surprise Lilies because they pop up and glow at a time of summer here when everything else looks tired and worn out. I also enjoy the slightly naughty feeling that this old man gets from having "Naked Ladies," as they are sometimes called, randomly showing up in my garden. I didn't get any titillating joy out of finding this clump, however, because I'm pretty sure that I never planted any bulbs here. And I've never heard that they can self-seed and spread themselves around a garden, other than by lateral bulb-lets. So that leaves me the choice of either accepting another bit of evidence that my memory is fading, or that I've witnessed a garden miracle of reproduction. Because neither of these are likely explanations, I think I'm going to settle the mystery and tell others that a squirrel dug up some bulbs and transplanted them here, even though the nearest tree large enough to support a squirrel is over 1/2 mile away.
I've also been surprised this summer by the performance of a pair of $5 misnamed roses purchased at Home Depot. As I mentioned previously, I saw this striped rose mislabeled as 'Love' back in May on a "two for $10" sale, took a chance, and bought two. Both bushes have settled in, are repeat blooming their heads off, and have no blackspot at all. I don't know what they really are. I initially thought they were two different striped cultivars, but now I think they are the same variety. Their rebloom cycle is too rapid for any of the remonant old garden striped roses I've grown. They're fragrant but not as tall nor as fragrant as 'Honorine de Brabant' and they are also shorter and more Floribunda-bush-form than my 'Ferdinand Pichard'. Regardless, if they make it through winter unprotected, for $10, I've got two great garden roses that I will always enjoy. Now there is a surprise without any reservations to spoil it.