When the local paper called and asked if we could comment about a story they were doing on naked ladies, I thanked my lucky stars and calmly inquired where I could observe these libertine maidens for myself in order to form a better opinion of the issue. I was told they could be found on the sides of roads and in fields. In short, the internet was all for naught, as you could find them everywhere in Sonoma County.
Then it turns out “Naked Ladies” is what you call Amaryllis belladonna when you want to make a trip to the plant store a little more titillating.
The oddly bare, leafless two-foot stalks sporting pink lily-like flowers appear like space aliens, seemingly uninvited in old farmyards, along fencelines, in ruts and swales, dusty ditches and along the railroad tracks, shamelessly flashing their shocking pink heads and ungainly long gams for a couple of weeks before vanishing as mysteriously as they came.
Meg was right – these plants are everywhere, and they appear right about the time that the grape harvest begins. They are hardy, ubiquitous and stunning.
As for the quote that I never got included in the article? Here are a few I tried out:
“When I pointed out the neighbor Amaryllis belladonna to my wife, she slapped me and pulled the shades.”
“We have, and always will, stand behind Sonoma County’s Amaryllis belladonnas”
“Officer, I drove off the road and into this vineyard because when looked up from reading my text messages I saw a whole stand of Amaryllis belladonnas and swerved to get a closer look.”
Naturally, no one would ever print these quotes. Ever.
To see the Naked Ladies yourself, book a room in Sonoma County and take a stroll or drive along the backroads. They’re out there.
And they’re naked.