I discovered the Auckland Botanical Gardens at the beginning of the year when completing an assignment for a horticulture certificate I have been working. What an amazing place to discover new plants and get some ideas for you own garden. It was there that I saw her.
Erect, void of a cloak, showing off her beautiful blooms stood the first naked lady I had ever seen in a public place. I held my breath and could not break my constant stare. It was like one of those moments when you know you have been gazing at something that you knew you shouldn’t. I took out my camera and took some shots so I could continue my admiration in the privacy of my own home. At the time I didn’t have a clue what the plant was, I just knew that what I saw was truly enchanting.
At the beginning of winter this year I returned to the gardens to try and find the flower again and hopefully someone who could identify it for me. I couldn’t believe it! She was gone, my first true flower love had vanished without a trace, and in it’s place grew a bush of strap-like leaves. I found a lone gardener tending to the perennial plants in the garden and poured out my heart to him, describing her distinguishing features.
“Ahhhh yes, Amaryllis Belladonna”, he began. “She is still there, but will not be as noticeable, she covers up during winter, you will have to come back in summer once her cloak of leaves have died away and from her bulbs spring forth her impressive blooms”, said the knowledgeable gardener (I’m taking poetic licence here). Relieved yet left with a sense of longing I thanked him and turned to walk away.
“Excuse me sir”, he called out. “You may like to remember her for her common name”, he suggested. “OK”, I replied. “I’ll just get out a pen”.
“Oh, no… you wont forget it”, he was sure. “Naked ladies”, he smirked.
So, with baited breath I will await the summer, when again I will see her in all her glory, Amaryllis Belladonna. My naked lady.
If you have any photos of Amaryllis Belladonna growing in your garden I would love to post them. Please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org with your tale of naked ladies.