Surprise lilies are making their annual appearance. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

If you haven’t seen them already, be on the lookout in the next several days for Naked Ladies, also known as surprise lilies.

They’re a bit ahead of last year in our neck of the woods in Cedar Rapids, but generally make their annual appearance in late July or early August.

The “surprise” comes, as the long, arching foliage that marks the plants in the spring disappears in subsequent months, leaving only the “naked” pink trumpet-like blossoms, tinged with blue, when the flowers finally bloom.

Other names for Amaryllis belladonna include magic lily and resurrection lily, which are equally fitting.

The blossoms make elegant, long-lasting bouquets and the plants are hardy in Iowa, growing well in full sun or even partial shade.