It has been a very hot summer in Australia and I have naked ladies lounging around my garden.
No, they are not sunbathing by the swimming pool instead they are standing in shameless glory atop the most barren and inhospitable sections of my garden.
The Belladonna Amaryllis or Naked Lady is one of the prettiest, yet one of the hardiest plants I grow. Naked Ladies essentially grow themselves because they don’t require any attention or watering. A native of South Africa, they survive in extremely dry conditions and prefer full sunlight.
It is not the pear shaped bulb or the feminine pink flowers which give the plant its name. Rather it is the bare naked stems, growing straight and tall without leaves. This is the flowering stage and the brazen blooms of Naked Ladies do not have leaves to hide their modesty.
Flowers appear in high summer boldly showing off just as other garden plants are wilting in the heat. The pink blooms glow in the hard summer light then after a couple of weeks in the sun the colour softens.
Although they are lily like, Naked Ladies are not a true lily and one stalk can support several trumpet-shaped blooms.
The flowers die back in autumn and this is when the strappy leaves make their appearance. By early spring the leaves also die back and the bulb goes to sleep, becoming dormant until the next summer.
Although hardy, Naked Ladies do not transplant well and take several years to bloom if moved.
Don’t confuse them with the poisonous Atropa Belladonna or Deadly Nightshade, a similarly named plant which is not related.
I grow Naked Ladies along my bottom drive which winds through the wild garden. It seems an appropriate place for a nudist colony.