` Amaryllis Madness!

Amaryllis Madness! August 20, 2005

Amaryllis Bella Donna, or Naked Lady, is a tall, graceful, leafless flower that shoots up seemingly overnight sometime in August. She hangs around for a couple weeks. The other 50 weeks of the year, she's underground. Naked Lady is a harbinger of the end of summer. I have always loved this plant which grows wild around here. She grows in barren, dry patches where there are no other plants - although sometimes she hitches a ride inside clumps of other plants. I've been noticing her the past few days. So today I took my camera with me on my walk, and took roughly 3 million pictures of Amaryllis Bella Donna.

I don't know if Naked Lady is native to this area, or introduced. I believe this plant flourishes in Mediterranean climates of Europe.

There are also a few pictures of interesting houses and gardens in Palo Alto.

  1. A clump of Naked Ladies bowing to the sun.

  2. The pink flowers usually appear in clumps of up to six or more flowers. The stem is a matching dark red.

  3. A close-up of a bud unopened. The stem snakes upward. The stem is hollow.

  4. A side view of an unopened bud.

  5. Three little ladies, all in a row. All these pictures were taken along the wild banks of the San Francisiquito Creek in Palo Alto, which is utterly dry at this time of year, but which floods homes during the rainy season (sometimes called "winter").

  6. Sometimes a family of Naked Ladies takes up residence in a bare patch of neglected sidewalk space in front of a beautiful garden and door.

  7. And sometimes an amaryllis bella donna will sneak into a patch of wild greenery.

  8. Her trademark long slender graceful neck rises above the throng.

  9. But you usually see the Naked Ladies mysteriously rising out of what looks to all the world like impossibly dry, barren ground.

  10. Rushes and brown-eyed susans.

  11. Close-up of the rushes (well, grasses of some sort!)

  12. Valiant Naked Ladies grace the dust. Note the large clumps of bulb material at their bases - the bulbs look almost like a trunk.

  13. They are so brave! The harshest abandoned patch of earth beckons!

  14. This close-up of a young Naked Lady clearly shows all the bulb growth at the base.

  15. A zen rock and grasses.

  16. A row of Naked Ladies takes up residence with some rather sickly-looking flowers of paradise.

  17. I like the peach and sky-blue tones on this house.

  18. These look practically cultivated on purpose in this garden! But I believe the Naked Ladies just show up, and then stay.

  19. I haven't tired of documenting just about every place they can be found, when walking around Palo Alto.

  20. A different sort of pink lady. You can't tell in this picture, but it's very tall - almost reaching six feet in the air.

  21. A tricked-out moped.

  22. A little bit of Italy or Greece, whitewashed walls, courtyard, deep open window with vibrant color.

  23. A riot of color! This picture does not do justice to the fascinating garden.

  24. I don't know the name of this delicate drooping pink blossom. White birch bark sets it off.

  25. A rock with a plaque declares this area on Lincoln Avenue to be Professorville (about 5 or 6 blocks from where I live). It reads:

    "This neighborhood, subdivided in 1889 by Timothy Hopkins at the request of Senator Leland Stanford was the earliest off-camGGpus residential area for professors at Stanford University. Built in sturdy "Turn of the Century" style, these early homes survived the great earthquake of 1906, and today constitute the largest remaining neighborhood of its kind in the mid-peninsula area.

    Plaque placed by City of Palo Alto in cooperation with the Palo Alto Historical Association on the occasion of Palo Alto's 75th anniversary, April 16, 1969.

    Point of historical interest SCL-001"

  26. And at the end of my two-hour walk, I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up a quart of milk. I figured this is a Point of Financial Interest, as after medical bills and rent, the great part of my income is transferred to Whole Foods!

Marianne Mueller
Last modified: Saturday, August 20, 2005