Saturday, August 18, 2012

Surprise Lily: Garden Growing

In the middle of July, my husband and I were so surprised to see a stalk pop up in our flower bed among the azaleas, right outside our living room window. It may have been there last year, too, but if it was we didn't notice it. We've only lived in our home a year, but I think we would've seen it even though we were experiencing the nightmare of moving in 100 degree heat with a crew of movers that included one or two thieves (don't get me started!).

Such a funny looking plant, with nothing but a tall, thick stalk and a large bud at the top that began opening up to reveal clusters of pink petals inside.

I have seen this plant before in Sacramento. My husband and I used to admire them downtown, in the area where we lived. They would pop up suddenly in the middle of summer in dusty unirrigated beds beneath the large elms that line the streets. They looked so out of place, but were such a pleasant surprise. Apparently somebody else thought so too, at one time, because one of the names given the plant is 'surprise lily'. 

Another name I have heard is 'naked lady', which causes the middle-schooler section of my brain to giggle. I wasn't sure this was the case, but I just couldn't bring myself to google on 'naked lady'. Who knows what the search engine would have come back with, and I just didn't want that in my online search profile, if you know what I mean. So I did a round-about search ('lily stalk with no leaves' did the trick) and found that the true name is Lycoris squamigera, a plant in the amaryllis family.

Isn't it pretty? The blooms opened one or two at a time and the whole show lasted about a month, from start to finish. I call this next shot 'post-menopausal naked lady'. 

Awww... poor thing.

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