Do you know this flower? When my neighbor thinned out her bulbs and gave some to me, she called them “surprise lilies.” Come to find they are so peculiar, and yes- surprising. It’s as if they don’t have to follow the same rules as other plants. In early spring they send up long, strong green leaves. The leaves die back and you have bare ground. Nothing there. You think all is lost. Then somehow in late summer, without your notice, they emerge again. This time there are no leaves, only strong green stems that open into these crazy sprays of multiple pink lily blooms.
I often make a flower arrangement from my yard. I search the front and back to see what I have in bloom. I pluck a little bit here, a little something there. Usually my arrangement is small and low. Modest.
This time I had white hydrangeas still blooming. And I had my surprise lilies. I layered them so the pink lilies emerge, stems carrying them so tall above a cloud of busy hydrangea. Surprise lilies don’t have any leaves, remember, so there is little green. I am taken aback by the drama rising from my vase.
I am surprised again to find they have another name. A plant-knowing friend sees my arrangement and compliments; “Oh, I like your bare-naked ladies!
* I find they are also called Magic Lilies and Resurrection Lilies. They can go from emerging to blooms in just 4 or 5 days. They are in the amaryllis family.