“They’re writing songs of love, but not for me” is an old Gershwin song that’s been a hit for singers ranging from Judy Garland to Ella Fitzgerald to Chet Baker to Elvis Costello. I first heard it in the 1943 movie Girl Crazy, one of the zillions of old movies I watched late at night or on rainy afternoons with my dad.
And it describes perfectly how I was feeling last week when I took my evening walk and saw everyone else’s Pink Ladies.
The formal name for Pink Ladies is Amaryllis Belladonna. They are also known as Naked Ladies, and in the south, people call them Surprise Lilies. They grow all over northern California and I love them and I found someone selling buckets of bulbs on Craigslist last year and planted a bunch. This turned out to be premature. The foliage came up beautifully, but Pink Ladies are strange and wondrous creatures. They put out foliage in the early spring and the foliage all dies back and just when you think they are dead each bulb shoots up a single stalk with a pink flower on it (hence the name Surprise Lilies, because it’s almost like they are jumping up and calling Surprise! But you have to say it with a southern accent: SurPRAAASE!). During that dormant period between foliage and flower they hang out and gather their strength and don’t appreciate being disturbed.
I knew planting them was premature at the time, but once I’d bought them I didn’t know what else to do with them and I didn’t realize just how thoroughly the bulbs would get trampled during the hardscaping process. Actually they did not just get trampled, they got dug up and tossed all over the yard and left out in the sun with their sad little roots drying up until I rescued as many as I could find and replanted them. As a result of this unwelcome activity, here’s what my Pink Ladies looked like last week, when everyone else’s were blooming:
Sad, right? And even though I knew it was my fault for jumping the gun on them (note to self: no matter how impatient you are, and I am, planting before the hardscaping is done will just make you sad) I still was feeling just a wee bit sorry for myself as everyone else’s jumped up and yelled SurPRAASE! and mine just sat there looking pathetic.
But then today, I spotted this:
It is just a single bud – but sometimes a single bud is all it takes to make you see the world new again.