As gardeners, aren't we all tempted by beautiful plants that occur along the roadsides and in other public places? If we only take a few, it won't make much difference, right? Wrong!
By the time I received the permit and could recruit some assistance from Pete Johnson and Ed Rutherford, two fellow FNPS members, the ditch had been mowed and the rain lilies were no longer blooming. They were not easy to find even with the help of my map. We did find a section of the ditch where the vegetation was different and after more than a few empty shovels full; we found some bulbs. We had to sniff the bulbs to make sure that they were not the wild garlic (Allium canadense), which also grows in this ditch. (I wrote about the garlic a few weeks ago on this blog.)
I'm sure we missed a good portion of the population because we were digging blind. If we're lucky, the road construction will not start until after next spring when the rain lilies will be in bloom again. I'll file for an extension on the permit and hope to rescue the rest of them.
If you're looking to add these beautiful native rain lilies to your rain garden or other moist area, be sure to purchase them from a legitimate native nursery operation. Please don't remove plants from our roadsides or any other public land without a permit.