Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Temptation Highway

(Orange) Belamcanda chinensis Iridaceane "Blackberry" Toad Lily,
(In a vase) Lycoris Squamigera "Magic Lily", (Many whites)Lilium Asiatic "White Elegance",
(Pink & Plum) Lilium Leucanthum Trumpet "Black Dragon",
(Single White) Lilium Avratum Oriental "Casa Blanca"

Just as it's a temptation to insert a picture of every lily in the garden in this article, it's a temptation to take a picture of every lily, and then the daddy of all lily temptations: want to possess every lily for the garden.

Unlike the daylily (Hemerocallis), most hold their blooms for many days.

The Toad Lily easily self seeds itself and is actually from the iris family. The flowers are tiny and unroll to form a orchid-like flower. Most common is the orange. Some new hybrids have purple and reds. They do well in shade. They don't do well cut. Althought the bloom time is short, they are in such quantity you never notice.

The pink Magic Lilies (aka Naked Ladies, Resurrection Lily, and Autumn Amaryllis) are very fragrant and bloom in July and August. The odd part of this lily is it sends up foliage in early spring and it dies back during summer. The long stems come up by themselves and 6-8 flowers form on the top of the stem. This plant will be in many old gardens long after the home is gone.

Asiatic Lilies have a sturdy appearance and come in a wide variety of colors - most bright. Some have a pattern and they vary in size. Seldom is there a fragrance but the visual show is worth the investment. They make a lively elegant look in your landscape. They will last many years although they tend to slowly die out.

The Trumpet Lily is typically very fragrant (think of the Easter Lily on steroids). Although most trumpets hang somewhat down, they look beautiful when inserted among other sturdy perennials that can support the long somewhat fragile stems. Otherwise, it is best to stake. They are usually the most expensive of the group but may slowly form colonies.

The Oriental Lilies are often very fragrant but not always. They can be huge and may form colonies. Like the Trumpet, it is wise to provide some kind of support as they can become top heavy and flop. They range in price from relatively cheap to more expensive. Some have up facing blooms and some hang down. The colors tend to be shades of pink to white although there are exceptions.

The Tiger Lily Lilium lancifolium is also an Oriental or Orienpet Speciosum Rubrum Lilum.

A new hybrid process has given us Orienpet which brings together the best qualities of the Oriental and the Trumpet.

Turk's Cap Lily
The Illinois native Lilium superbum Turk's Cap Lily is often seen in very old cemeteries. A very beautiful plant (much like the orange Tiger Lily), it blooms early to mid-summer and lasts about a month. It has no fragrance.

The fragrant lilies will scent an entire yard or when picked, an entire room. Plant beside your patio or porch for the intoxicating smells to flow over you, especially in the evening.

These lilies seldom like to have their feet stand in water (check planting instructions for each) or soggy soil.

The lily plants can range from 8 inches to over 7 foot in height.

Rabbits and deer sometimes find lilies desirable and may eat them to the ground. Typically, they will come up the next year. If you have either, put rabbit fence around them and/or keep outdoor dogs. Ground hogs and voles may eat the bulbs but this can be eliminated by planting in rabbit fence boxes (or again use dogs.)

There are many interesting stories and histories surrounding lilies - maybe another time. Today, it's my appreciation for the visual and scent of these plants.

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