Patty Craig: A Slice of Time
My eight pink ‘surprise lily’ blooms are fading. For the past few years, I have enjoyed a surprise lily blooming in my back yard. When Larry and I added a row of plants to our back yard, we didn’t know we had one of these unique lilies until it bloomed. I believe it was a transplant that my oldest daughter gave me.
The lycoris squamigera is believed to have originated in Japan or China. The leaves sprout and grow in the spring, then die back during June. In late July or August, its leaves are not present when the flowers emerge from the crown. The blooms are white or pink and fragrant. The flowers spring dramatically from the ground in mid to late summer, taking only four to five days from first emergence to full bloom. This suddenness is reflected in its common names: surprise lily, magic lily, and resurrection lily. According to the Internet, these lilies have also been referred to as naked ladies and are a member of the Amaryllis family.
The surprise lilies have a few rainbow-like characteristics. First, the lilies often appear after a rain. I don’t know why; I’ve just noticed that mine tend to appear after a rain. Second, they give little warning. Four to five days from first emergence to full bloom is pretty quick for Mother Nature. Finally, they are beautiful. The sturdy 1-to-2-foot stems produce showy, fragrant blooms that last for several weeks.
For years, I admired other people’s surprise lilies before having one in my back yard. I remember seeing their blooms in a yard down the street as I drove to work and wondering what they were. Even Jesus noticed the beauty of lilies (Luke 12:27). Also, though the surprise lilies look fragile, these flowers are quite hardy, coming back year after year. They would have to be hardy for me to have them!
Like most things in the fall, my surprise lilies are fading, but they’ll be back next year. And, meantime maybe they’ll multiply!