March Lilies in February

March Lilies in February, 7 February 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.

After an extended period of drought, the Western Cape province of South Africa has experienced a rainy summer. So unusual is this that wild autumn lilies have sprung from the ground a month early!1 Expected only after the first rain of March, this is the Belladonna lily (Amaryllis belladonna) blooming in early February—high summer in South Africa!

March Lilies in February, 7 February 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
March Lilies in February, 7 February 2020. Copyright 2020 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.

  1. The South African autumn begins in March and ends in May.

Lilies in the Morning

Gladiolus liliaceus, 15 September 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
Gladiolus liliaceus

I encountered one of the first Large Brown Afrikaner lilies (Gladiolus liliaceus) of spring this morning. It stood on the same wayside where I saw another (of the cream-coloured variety), last October. Once home, I invited my mother to return to the flower to admire it. Upon her suggestion, we strolled further up the dirt road and what should we see but another of the same flower, precariously blooming on the verge!

Gladiolus liliaceus, 15 September 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The first lily I saw.
Gladiolus liliaceus, 15 September 2019. Copyright 2019 Forgotten Fields. All rights reserved.
The second lily on the very edge of the road bank, still mauve and open on the overcast morning, likely to turn brown (or cream) and close when the sun appears.
(If you listen carefully at the 15 seconds mark, you can hear one of the Clapper Lark species, Mirafra apiata marjoriae, flap its wings and whistle in the distance.)

We then crossed the road, and there in the field, were more lilies scattered amongst the bushes! These I did not photograph; they were at some distance, and I did not have the right lens (it never occurred to me to use the iPhone). My mother told me how, when she was a child, on the first school day of spring, they had to bring a wildflower to class. She would come to that very field to pick a lily, three kilometres from her home!