Lilies through the year, Gardening calendar for North India
The rain lilies bloom twice a year with the coming of the monsoon and spring rains.
I admire lilies for their weather hardiness! They need nothing to survive in the harshest of weather conditions! If the sun is too strong they let the leaves dry, but the bulb remains conscious to life. It forgives the sun and difficulties given by it, and flowers again with gay abandon whenever it feels safe enough to come out of its mud-bound home.
I love to collect a variety of lily bulbs. They are a symbol of the undying life-force to me. I love to surprise friends with gifts of rain lilies in pots when they are just about to bloom.
Pink crocus rain-lily
This pink crocus lily has small blooms. The one in the next picture is slightly larger.
These pink lilies grow in hundreds at one of UB City's gates in Bangalore.
Zephyr Lily, Rain Lily (Zephyranthes carinata) Amaryllidaceae (amarlyllis family)
Sushma aunty, another garden lover has a special name for these. She calls the pink ones gum drops, the white ones snow drops and yellow ones lemon drops.
White rain-lily: Zephyranthes candida
Yellow rain lilies
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, a host of golden daffodils.
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, fluttering and dancing in the breeze…
A field of yellow crocus lilies is my idea of Wordsworth's poem: Daffodils…
Easter lilies announce spring.
The General Post Office in Hazratganj (Lucknow) is where I saw them first, when I was a seven year old. Though rain lilies are my favourite now, as a kid I first fell in love with Easter lilies which grew in thousands in my neighbour's garden. Sometimes the gardener gifted me a bunch of the red and white blooms. The flowers did not wilt in my vase for a week or so. Oh, that glorious week!
Hawaiian ginger lilies are at their best in September-October.
Lilies have a beautiful scent. Easter lilies, spider lilies and Hawaiian ginger lilies make their presence felt through the scent.
Hawaiian ginger lily
These spider lilies near a water body look and smell great. These too are a rainy season special.
Star gazer and lolipop lily
May lily or Ball lily
I remember the sight of May lily pots lining the stairs to Dainik Jagran newspaper office in Lucknow in summer. Those were a prized collection.
But the ball lilies that appeared out of nowhere under betel nut trees in my neighbour's garden in Langford Town in Bangalore were no less amazing! As luck would have it, much as I have admired these, I don't own a ball lily bulb. Who cares! Come summer and I'll find them blooming some place again :-)