Naked Ladies poke
tender green tips through a mat
of dead stalks and leaves
Winter transitioning to spring: freeze, thaw, fog, rain, snow, mud. Naked Ladies poke their tender tips up from bulbs buried beneath ground still frozen, up through a mat of last year’s flower stalks, dead leaves and black hickory husks. These odd flowers, also called Surprise Lilies, send clusters of slender leaves up in early spring, but the leaves die back without flowers. The second surprise comes in late summer. Pale flower stalks shoot up like pink-tipped spears, opening into a panicle of delicate pink lilies.