We have a number of display beds at work, and in one of them we have tried to give it a tropical look. Earlier in the month, I noticed this unusual plant blooming, but no one could give me a definitive name. We suspected it may be some variety of Haemanthus. While browsing through this month's bloom day postings, I noticed that Jeff at The Transitional Gardener had a plant that looked just like it, confirming our suspicion. Haemanthus is native to southern Africa, but this particular one is hardy for us in 7b. The foliage is worthy in itself, looking as it should belong somewhere more exotic than Suffolk. We were given this plant by a bulb vendor who was always our temporary neighbor when we had a booth at the Virginia Flower and Garden Show -back when the show actually featured flowers and gardens. We planted the bulb years ago, but I have never noticed the flowers until this year.
By the way, if you happen to visit Jeff's site, make sure you read his latest post, which among other things, concerns naked ladies and butterbeans. It is a good story about plants and our associations with them and should appeal to any gardener, but especially so to Southern ones.