surprise lily (amaryllis belladonna)

22 Jul

These have almost as many names as there are gardeners:  painted lady, naked lady, resurrection lily, magic lily……….. Of course, they’re not lilies at all; they’re part of the amaryllis family (you know, the bulbs you plant half in and half out of the pot to produce big red flowers in the winter–often given as Christmas presents). They’re grown from large, onion-like bulbs and start in early spring as a clump of long (about 15″), thick leaves that come up about the same time as the daffodils. They hang around for a month or so and then die back completely, so completely that you can easily forget they were ever there. Then, in mid to late summer they come back, sprouting overnight as 18″ to 24″ stems that are almost completely white with a circle of pink, lily-like flowers at the top. I have these in several spots around the back yard and see no signs of any of the others. But one morning I’ll take my daily tour of the garden and there they’ll be. The only care you need to take with these flowers is to be sure to plant them among other plants. Otherwise, when the leaves die back you’ll have a bare spot for most of the season.


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