August Surprises in Tryon Palace Gardens

Surprise Lilies

One sure sign that we have made it through the worst part of the summer is one is greeted by the Naked Ladies walking into the Wilderness Garden. The ladies gather near the door outside the Latham Garden or behind a bench near the Mitchener Temple. Barring any rain storms that will flatten their faces or having their heads bitten off by the ever abundant squirrels, the Ladies, more commonly known as Surprise Lily (Lycoris squamigeria), are delicate pink blooms on tall stalks. The foliage appears later in the season, thus the regional name Naked Ladies.  

Another Surprise Lily, better known locally as the New Bern lily, is Lycoris radiate. Blooming later this month in the Carraway and Commission House gardens, this lily is a bit shorter and has a striking red bloom. Its foliage has a dark green variegation and can be found in every yard in downtown New Bern when one is lazy about mowing. 

Appearing early September, in the Dot Tyler and Stoney gardens, will be the Oxblood or Schoolhouse Lily, Rhodophiala bifida. As the name suggests, the bloom is an impressive blood red. 

Tryon Palace just submitted the 2016 bulb order to Terra Ceia Farms in Pantego, N.C. for tulips, daffodils, and ranunculus. Our tulip order always includes a few species tulips, like tulipa clusiana, that will spread and come back every year. Next summer look for calla lilies and more Asiatic lilies in the Dot Tyler and Stoney gardens. 

If you order your own New Bern lily this fall they may not bloom but you will get the foliage just before winter. Then next fall, you too can be surprised!

Flowering Vines

  • Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sumpervirens), native, red and yellow
  • Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
  • Trumpet vine (Campsis grandiflora), orange


  • Angelonia ‘Serena Mix WaterFall’
  • Annual phlox (Phlox drummondii), mix    
  • Basil “floral spires,” lavender
  • Begonia angel wing “Baby Wings,” white
  • Begonia dragon wing, red
  • Coleus, various
  • Cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus), orange, yellow
  • Dusty Miller “Silver Dust,” gray
  • Euphorbia “Glitz,” white
  • Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana sp), various
  • Gazania “Kiss Mix,” mix
  • Gerbera “Revolution Mix Select”
  • Globe amaranth (Gomphrena globosa), purple
  • Love Lies Bleeding (Amaranthus caudatus), burgundy 
  • Marigolds, oranges, yellows
  • Morning glory (Ipomoea tricolor), blue, magenta
  • Old-fashioned petunia (Petunia integrifolia), magenta
  • Ornamental millet, “Purple Baron”
  • Pentas “Graffiti,” violet, white, pink
  • Petunia “Merlin Blue Morn”
  • Salvia farinacea “Fairy Queen”
  • Salvia coccinea “Summer Jewel Pink”
  • Sunflowers, variety
  • Tassel flower (Emilia japonica), red 
  • Torenia or wishbone flower “Kauai Rose”
  • Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus), various          
  • Zinnia (Zinnia elegans), various

Trees and Shrubs

  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), pink blooms, purple berries
  • Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii), purple
  • Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia sp) pink, white, red, lavender  
  • Fragrant osmanthus (Osmanthus fragrans), yellow
  • Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), white
  • Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana), white petals with red accents 
  • Pomegranate (Punica granata), coral
  • Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia), leaves beginning to fall, look for Buckeyes
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinale), white, lavender
  • Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), white with red
  • Spanish bayonet (Yucca aloifolia), white


  • Balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
  • Bee balm (Monarda didyma), red
  • Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta), yellow
  • Blanket flower (Gaillardia puchella), red and yellow
  • Bog sage (Salvia uliginosa), light blue
  • Bronze fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), yellow
  • Bush clover (Lespedeza virginica), pink
  • Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), yellow, orange 
  • Cape leadwort (Plumbago capensis), blue
  • Carolina phlox (Phlox Carolina ‘Miss Lingard’), white
  • Catmint (Nepeta faassenii), blue
  • Comfrey (Symphytum officinale), blue
  • Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) purple, seed heads edible for birds
  • Crinum lily-pink, white
  • Dahlias, yellow, burgundy, mix 
  • English daisy (Bellis perennis), white, pink      
  • False sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides), yellow
  • Formosa lily (Lilium formosum), white 
  • Gaura (Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ and ‘Sparkle White’), pink, white
  • Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), “David,” white, “Eva Cullum,” pink 
  • Gayfeathers (Liatris spicata), purple
  • Giant coneflower (Rudbeckia maxima), seed heads edible for birds
  • Ginger lily (Hedychium coronarium), white
  • Green-headed coneflower (Rudbeckia lacinata), yellow
  • Hosta sp., white
  • Hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab), purple blooms, purple seed pod 
  • Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum), purple, white seed heads
  • Lantana camarara, yellow, orange, red, pink
  • Lithodrora diffusa, blue
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata), blue
  • Mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea), blue
  • Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera), yellow and brown
  • Naked Ladies or Surprise lily (Lycoris squamigeria), pink with no foliage 
  • New Bern lily (Lycoris radiate), red with no foliage 
  • Obedient plant (Physotegia virginiana), white
  • Oriental lily (Lilium oriental ‘Rubrum’) 
  • Patrinia (Patrinia scabiosaefolia), yellow
  • Pineapple lily (Eucomis comosa ‘Sparkling Burgundy’), burgundy
  • Pink mallow (Malva moschata), pink
  • Rain lily (Zephryanthes sp), pink, white, yellow
  • Rose mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos), pink
  • Salvia (Salvia microphylla ‘Hot Lips’), red and white, (Salvia greggii) red 
  • Salvia “Indigo Spires” (Salvia farinacea X longispicata), indigo
  • Scented geraniums, small pink, lavender flowers
  • Shasta daisy (Chrysanthemum X superbum), white
  • Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides), pink
  • Texas Star or rose mallow (Hibiscus coccineus), red
  • Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata), yellow
  • Turk’s cap (Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummuondii), red
  • Virginia spiderwort (Tradescantia virginiana), blue
  • Roses:  
    • Knockout roses (Rosa ‘RADrazz’)
    • Old blush rose (Rosa chinensis) pink
    • Heirloom roses: “Safrano,” yellow; “Marie Van Houtte,” white; “The Fairy,” pink; “Heritage,” pink; “Duchess de Brabant,” pink; “Perles des Jardin,” yellow; “Crème la Cerumois Superior,” red; “Souvenir de la Malmaison,” light pink; “Champney’s Pink Cluster,” light pink; “Dark Lady,” deep red
    • David Austin varieties 

Kitchen Garden 

Sunflowers, Hyacinth bean (Dolichos lablab), purple; Luffa gourds, onions, garlic, Swiss chard, mints, oregano, thyme, salad burnet, pineapple sage, garden sage, “Munstead” lavender, squash, peppers, tomatoes, celery