Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Liriope Muscari

It seems wherever one looks in Tidewater, particularly in the Shire,
there are thousands of liriope muscari plants.
Deep green or variegated, they are usually planted as borders along walks,
and other times they are massed together under trees.
Liriope, or lilyturf as it is also called,
 is practically fool-proof, living well under a variety of conditions.

The name Liriope may come from the mythological water nymph of the same name. 
According to www.encyclo.co.uk, 
Liriope was the daughter of a Greek river god.
As naiads, she and her sisters presided over rivers and springs.
But Liriope is probably most recognized as the mother of Narcissus, 
who fell in love with his own beautiful face reflected in a pool of clear water.

Here  a border of  liriope softens the edge of a small pond:

When liriope grows thick and green, I like seeing it--for the most part.
But with so many liriope plants garnishing the local landscape,
including some stubbornly under-lush liriope of my own,
dare I admit to an occasional bout of liriope fatigue?
My mom used to say "familiarity breeds contempt,"
and I think that adage could apply to an overused plant like liriope.

And yet, I wouldn't want to be without its grassy emerald green leaves
or its dark stemmed purple spikes. 
I like its ability to soften angles and edges, its evergreen habit,
and even the lyrical pronunciation of the name liriope (luh RYE uh pee),
which, let's face it, is fun to say.

Here is blooming liriope dressing up our own walkway:

Although liriope seems to be everywhere, 
it resists blending into the background,
and there is no sign that gardeners will give up their love for it any time soon.
And that's okay with me 
because there's another adage that applies to liriope's common face:
"there is comfort in the familiar."

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