Awash in blazing red oxblood lilies

Their little, green noses were just beginning to poke up last week, and a few early birds had already bloomed and faded. And then three and a half inches of rain soaked into the soil last weekend, and yesterday—like magic!—the oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) were standing at attention, each clump a cheery bouquet of red trumpets accented with yellow stamens.

I might have missed them entirely except that I followed our dog Cosmo into the back garden, taking a break from the computer, and the blaze of crimson made me stop and gasp—and run back inside for my camera.

The flowers are sturdy, but they don’t last more than a couple of days. So enjoy them when you see them! To paraphrase Robert Herrick, “Gather ye lilies while ye may, old time is still a-flying; And the same flower that smiles today tomorrow will be dying.”

Native to Argentina, oxblood lilies were introduced to Texas by German settlers. As with the Germans, they found central Texas to their liking. They naturalize well here, hiding out during the hot, dry summer and popping up with the first rains of fall.