Yet another autumn lily stolen by summer; this time, the Chandelier lily, earlier than I have ever seen it before! Like the Belladonna and Paintbrush lilies, it too emerges directly from the bulb beneath the soil, usually after the first rain of March, the beginning of the South African autumn. At this rate, there will be no lilies left come the month!
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!
The South African autumn begins in March and ends in May.
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!
(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!