Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sur-prise, Sur-prise, Sur-prise!

It worked!  The Christmas quizzes cooled things down - high temps in the 80's yesterday and today - so I could return to the great outdoors.  And - surprise! - I found Surprise Lilies.   In May and June there were four beds of greenery like those shown at the right.  (Sorry, it didn't occur to me at the time that the leaves were photo worthy, so I found this image on the internet.)  But they died off in July and we assumed that, whatever they were, they hadn't survived the heat.  Now, without a leaf in sight, stalks are shooting up all over (actual pictures from Green Acres):

Each single bud opened to reveal four or more buds 
on each stalk:

And in less than a week from first sprout, each bud opened into a beautiful lavender lily:

Turns out that's how Surprise Lilies work - hence the name.  These beauties are also called Resurrection Lilies, Magic Lilies or Naked Ladies.

Then my second surprise.  I can't believe it's taken me this long to realize, but we have butterflies.  That may not seem like a shocker to you, but it was to me.  Our previous home in southwest Kansas was very dry.  Not much grew that wasn't purposely planted and watered.  When we moved here this Spring, one of the first things we noticed were wildflowers . . . everywhere.  Miles of ditches full of gorgeous blooms.  And with flowers come butterflies.  I hadn't missed them until they were back.  So I spent two days running around the yard with my cellphone, trying to snap some pictures. Aren't I glad we live in the country so the neighbors weren't snapping pictures of the crazy woman next door?!  Those little buggers are quick, but I did manage to click on four different varieties.  The photography's not very good, but you try to get clear pictures while crawling under a lilac bush, trying not to spook the butterfly, with your phone in one hand and a snake-killing pitchfork in the other.  (Ha, snakes!  You thought I'd forgotten you and that one of your ilk tried to hide in my lilac bush.  But no!  I will never forget!  You and I will be enemies. . . Sorry.  We don't need to go down that road again.)  
Red-Spotted Purple
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail 

Viceroy Butterfly
The I-Don't-Have-A-Clue Butterfly
Identification courtesy of

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