Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Mystery Bulb June 4, 2009

Filed under: bulbs,my garden — greenwalks @ 7:32 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Earlier in the spring, my daughter helped me divide some overgrown clumps of what I thought were no-longer-blooming crocus that were probably here before we moved in. I spread them around the backyard and figured I’d just see what color they turned out to be next spring.

Imagine my surprise when a bunch of cute little white flowers began blooming in those spots last week. Late May, hey wait, that’s way too late for crocus. What gives?

Sleepydick (no joke, that's the plant's name)

(Yes, my camera decided to focus on the chickweed and mulch instead of the actual flowers – it has an aversion to white flowers, unlike some people I know…)

I probably would have done one of my typical “hey, do any of you know what the heck this is?” posts except for the fact that I just stumbled upon a new-ish blog by a fellow Seattle-ite, Seattle Plant Exchange. Guess what? She was wondering what this was too, had a better photo of it, did her research, came up with an answer, and emailed me her findings. Can’t beat that! She says it is Ornithogallum umbellatum, common name Sleepydick, but I think it’s also known as Star of Bethlehem, which is more something you could say to your mother without snickering if you were giving her some divisions. Click here to see the zone requirements and hardiness info if you’re curious. Not sure how it got to me, but I have a feeling it’s going to stay – it seems like it could be a bit of a spreader, which is fine by me.

(Heading up to Kindergarten Camp today!?! Still can’t believe my kid is old enough to go to camp, even for two days. I hope we all survive! I plan to catch up with everyone when I return – I’ve been swamped with packing and other prep so blogland has taken a back seat recently.)


7 Responses to “Mystery Bulb”

  1. Tatyana Says:

    HI Karen! Cute flower, and if the plant spreads, you’ll have a lot of them soon!

  2. Hi Karen, Long time no talk:-( I just wanted to tell you that I’m almost ready to send my surprise gift to you! It’s about finished so it’ll be in the mail soon! I hope you haven’t minded waiting all this time. I wasn’t going to forget about you…I just needed time to come up with something that I could actually ‘do’ since I don’t normally do crafts!! I think you will actually like it and be able to USE it, as well;-)
    Your little surprise flower is a bonus! If it spreads and you like that idea, then it’s even better! I wonder how long the blooms will last? Hopefully a few weeks! They’re cute little ‘stars’! Jan

  3. Jen Says:

    I was just looking at these in a perennial bulb catalog. I was looking for something that would naturalize in shade. (If you want more, you can get 100 blubs for $15 at! ) I’m trying to decide between this and Scilla. Have fun at kindergarten camp!

  4. Megan Says:

    Hmm, little white flowers on bulbs with skinny leaves that naturalize. I may be biased, but I find it scary and evil. Memories of endless digging. I can’t even look at bulbs anymore.

  5. Grace Says:

    I love this about gardening–discovering new plants, some of them already happily thriving under our noses. And I’m thinking Sleepydick LOL would make a great pass-a-long plant. The moniker alone is a great conversation starter.

  6. Melanthia Says:

    I had a mystery plant that I believe someone said was Star of Bethlehem, but it didn’t look like this. Hmmm, my mystery continues.

  7. tina Says:

    I think for sure Star of Bethleham too. I have never heard it called Sleepy Dick. What a neat name. You would not believe how many folks do not know this. It just all of a sudden appears and they are like amazed. I’ve been leery of mine as I did not want it to spread to the lawn but so far it’s been fine.

    I read a few of your other posts. I especially liked the ‘Tidy’ one. Your neighbors probably don’t mind you all at all. Both of my neighbors are a bit messy in the garden (think no lawn mowing), but as long as they don’t throw loud parties all hours of the night and shoot fireworks in my yard, I’m okay with messy. I must say I really loved those parking strip posts. Such beauty!

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