If you’ve driven in our driveway in the past week or so, you may have noticed some Naked Ladies along the drive. No? Perhaps you were looking for something other than lilies!This plant (Amaryllis belladonna) produces green, leafy growth that emerges in spring and dies back by mid summer. In late summer, leafless stems produce elegant, pink flowers. The plants shoot up within a week or two and only stay in bloom for about a week after that. They’re called Naked Ladies because they have no foliage, other than their stems. After the blooms die back, the long, strap-like leaves re-appear.
Harvey Ladew was a great fan of Naked Lady lilies, mainly because of their name. I am sure that he loved shocking his proper friends with the name. Near the Ladew Garden’s entrance is a carpet of naked lady lilies. “Ladew had admired the lilies in a friend’s garden,” says chief gardener Tyler Diehl. “The friend cabled to say he would send 50 naked ladies to Monkton if Mr. Ladew could handle them. Mr. Ladew cabled back, saying that he could easily handle 50 naked ladies if they were disease free. Of course he knew the message would scandalize telegraph operators on both ends, which was part of the fun.”