Calochortus, Mariposa lily, Mariposa tulip, fairy lantern, blooming now!
During the Fall we were looking through several bulb catalogs and decided to try some of the more unusual selections. We settled on Calochortus which looked dainty and very pretty in the catalog pictures. Sometimes the pictures are enhanced in catalogs so we weren't expecting something spectacular but the photos were dead on and the flowers are quite beautiful.
There are several varieties of Calochortus, albus, amoenus, clavatus, superbus and venustus. I believe we got the superbus and so far we've had three colors, a white, pale violet and bright yellow. More are in the bud stage and the little peeks we get when the petals are breaking indicate that there may be more variations of the colors already mentioned. They all have a dark blood red spot on the inside base of the petals and the flowers are quite striking. The leaves are very skinny and threadlike and the flower stem rises between a foot and slightly more than 2 feet tall.
We are very pleased that we bought these bulbs but I'm sorry I can't remember where we bought them. A google search could probably bring up several vendors who carry these bulbs. They are considered a difficult plant to grow so I was afraid that they wouldn't come up in zone 6 because they are a California - western US native and require special growing conditions - cool temperate climate, well drained gritty soil, good drainage a must. But we've had no problem in growing them so far. They require a dry summer so we'll see how they fair with our variable rainfall.