Surprise lilies, also known as naked ladies and several other names, are typically incredibly consistent.
If you see them in one person’s garden, like clockwork, you’ll see them all over town.
This year has been an anomaly, with the first flowers spotted around July 24, 2021, but then none — at least of any noticeable quantity in Cedar Rapids — until Aug. 7.
That might be due to the drought.
The perennial flowers sport lovely daffodil-like foliage early in the season, which disappears with the summer’s heat. By late July or early August, pink flowers tinged in blue simultaneously pop up, seemingly out of nowhere.
Other names for the flower formally known as Lycoris squamigera — in the amaryllis family — include magic lily and resurrection lily.
While surprise lilies are drought-tolerant, and overwatering during their dormancy could cause the bulbs to rot, they do need at least a little water to bloom, so recent rains in Eastern Iowa seem to have activated these long-lasting flowers.
See another annual summer appearance: Photos of a cicada emergence