Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A banner year for lilies!!

The genus Lilium is very near and dear to my heart. Ever since I bought a package of clearance bulbs when I was about 11 or 12 years old and flowered a potful of fragrant 'Stargazer' lilies, I was compelled and hooked. It was a plant that simply had it all!  Easy, hardy, colorful, fragrant; it was easy to impress people with them!

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.

Lilium Dimension
The almost black 'Dimesions'

Lilium Ariadne bloom detail
The dainty, but tough 'Ariadne'

Lilium Ariadne Group
and prolific too!

Lilium 'Brushstokes'
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.


Lilium Lankon beginning to open buds

Lilium Lankon swan


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'

Lilium Orienpet Hybrids
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

Lilium Contrast with companions 1
'Contrast' absolutely vigorous in a private garden in Seattle growing with Thalictrums, Alliums and Hydrangea aspera.

Lilium Kushi Maya group 1
The unique coloration and stunning fragrance of the rare 'Kushi Maya'

Lilium 'Silk Road' with Sidalcea
'Silk Road' in the background with Sidalcea in front

Lilium 'Miss Libby'
'Miss Libby'

Lilium Blueberry Crush with Phlox Blue Paradise
'Blueberry Crush' absolutely stunning with Phlox 'Blue Paradise'

Lilium 'Nymph' in Landwave Gardens
'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.

Lilium Magic Star
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.


1 comment:

  1. Beauties, the lot of them! You've made me feel sad again that I accidentally speared my poor 'Ariadne' in half this spring...must get another one (or more) this spring!