Years later, I've acquired quite a collection of lilies and have learned so much about them. I often tell people that you're obsessed with a particular plant when you're breeding them and rescuing embryos in a laboratory to create complex hybrids. This was totally the case with me and lilies.
Our summer here in the Pacific Northwest truly was outstanding for lilies. Some are continuing to put on a show, but my goodness, the middle of July was absolute heaven!! Stems towered just a little higher with more vigor and bloom after fragrant bloom that was simply mesmerizing.
Here are some highlights from earliest to the ones currently still in bloom:
ASIATICS: Generally, the first of the lilies to flower each summer starting in late May into early July.
|The almost black 'Dimesions'|
|The dainty, but tough 'Ariadne'|
|and prolific too!|
|I adore these in arrangements! 'Brushstrokes'|
A most unusual cross with an Easter Lily: Lilium 'Lankon' is a hybrid between the dainty Lilium lankongense from China with Lilium longiflorum, the popular and well known Easter Lily. The Easter Lily is often grown and forced it bloom in April for the holiday, but its normal bloom time in the garden is about July. These two species are very distantly related and would never cross naturally with one another so through some elaborate laboratory techniques, the union was recognized and a strikingly spotted and unique hybrid was unveiled.
OT's = Orienpets = Oriental x Trumpet Hybrids
More and more people are getting accustomed to seeing these remarkable hybrids nowadays. I can still remember when one bulb would cost about $60.00 and it seemed like the holy grail of lily breeding. Now the market is absolutely FLOODED with these hybrids.
|An unintended plant combination with Monarda is 'Shocking'|
|The most voluptuous stems of 'Anastasia' in a private garden in Bellevue, WA|
|The stunning 'Conca d'Or' growing very well in a private garden in Bellevue, WA|
|'Contrast' absolutely vigorous in a private garden in Seattle growing with Thalictrums, Alliums and Hydrangea aspera.|
|The unique coloration and stunning fragrance of the rare 'Kushi Maya'|
|'Silk Road' in the background with Sidalcea in front|
|'Blueberry Crush' absolutely stunning with Phlox 'Blue Paradise'|
|'Nymph' with a glimpse of Landwave Gardens|
Double Freaks of Nature:
Boy, was I excited when the first double-flowered Oriental was introduced into the market just a few days ago. Now there are several out on the market, I still think they're just okay; they're more for the collector, I feel. Requiring heat and regular moisture to make sure the buds open properly, the double Orientals open slowly revealing no sexual parts as they've been morphed into extra tepals. So, there's no messy pollen and the fragrance is still very much that of all other Orientals.
|The bizarrely different 'Magic Star'|
|'Miss Lucy' in an arrangement I assembled with a striking rex begonia leaf.|
This truly has been a superb summer in the garden and to have some of my favorite plants perform so well is just icing on the cake. If you could only see these blooms in person and experience the fragrance on some of these, you'll absolutely be amazed as well.