Pied Beauty

Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889)

Glory be to God for dappled things—
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise him.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Native Rain Lilies

Native rain lily
Have you noticed little white or pale pink flowers blooming in fields and on roadsides?  These are native rain lilies, related to amaryllis, but not a true lily.  These little beauties pop up after a rain in the warm season and are every bit as beautiful as anything you'd find at a bulb show.

Just a blush of pink.

Most of the wild ones in my area seem to be white, with little yellow stamens, but here and there I can find a pink one.  They're related to the Zephyranthes we commonly see in catalogs and at garden centers.

Pink and white

Can you force a rain lily to bloom by watering it?  I don't seem to be  able to fool mine.  I've watered them with stored rainwater and they stubbornly wait it out.  It takes more than just water to trigger the flowers.  Stop and think about it, though: a lot goes on during  a rainstorm.  Rain falls evenly all around.  The atmospheric pressure changes.  The temperature drops and the light level changes as the clouds roll in. Maybe they love the electric charge of thunderstorms.  I don't know.  I do know there's a lot of kooky pseudo-science out there about rainwater vs. tap water.  You can't believe everything you read!


  1. I wish the white ones would bloom for me, too. The pink varieties do well in my garden but the white ones have had maybe two blooms in three years.