August may be a time for a diversity of events in our calendars. Typically it is the month of winding down the summer and bracing ourselves for the new school year and those Labor Day barbecues! At the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead, it is the month when we witness an annual renewal – the mysterious blooming of the “Pink Naked Ladies!” These flowering bulbs, whose Latin name is Amaryllis belladonna, have reappeared every year since the season following the 2007 wildfires, when they were first noticed.
What’s the mystery? They grow and thrive with no care whatsoever! The “ladies” are never watered, and while undoubtedly a wetter winter would suit them nicely, they are green with the first rains, die back at the first hint of our warmest days, and then bloom in August. Amaryllis belladonna are native to the Western Cape region of South Africa, and are known there as the ‘March lily,’ due to their likelihood of blooming in March, the southern hemispherical equivalent to late summer. For more information, check out the article on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaryllis.
Adding to their mystery is the fact that we will probably never know who planted them here at the Sikes Adobe. Their bed is on the east side of the farmhouse, which was historically the front of the house. They line up in a graceful curve, pointing toward the doorway to the enclosed porch. Which of the many people who lived here began this bed? They must have had a passion for the lilies, and been equally pleased to see their beauty at the time of year when fall is approaching, and the landscape is bone dry. To visit the Sikes Adobe, or find out more about our gardens, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.