Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Surprise Lily

Surprise lilies are one of my favorite garden treats. In the summer they crowd the already crowded garden with their tall gangly leaves and no flowers. I can't wait for them to die back so I can cut them away and tidy up. But then, when summer's exuberance has passed and I am feeling melancholy in my September garden the buds of these strange flowers erupt naked from the ground. I feel like they have been waiting in reserve to cheer me up. They are so weird in their September incarnation without any leaves. I love odd things and odd people too. They look out of place and out of time but that makes them so welcome.

This painting measures 6"x8" and is oil on panel.


  1. Beautifully written and an even more beautiful painting.

  2. Love this painting. I think the flower is an autumn crocus. I wrote about them in an essay i wrote on the names of flowers. The autumn crocus (colchicum autumnale) is a naked maiden in Germany (because it has no leaves, just a bare flower stalk). In France, they are called bare-bottoms and dog-killers (because they are so poisonous). In England, Wilfrid Blunt (who provided this delightful list) mentions the names: upstarts, daggers, kite’s legs, naked boys and naked nannies. The Arabs, he says, call them the lamps of the ghoul. They always bloom on my birthday (Sept 4) so I think of them as my birthday flowers.

  3. I've never heard of these until now!