Saturday, July 25, 2009

Perfume of the Gods

Image: Lilium Stargazer (Oriental hybrid lily).

Hybridized by Mr. Leslie Woodriff & registered in 1978. Mr. Woodriff called it Stargazer because the blooms face the sky. This lily can be found in every catalog and box store around this area. It is generally inexpensive. It's also used in many standard florist bouquets.

(I will qualify that some really cheap bulbs may not produce as large of plants and flowers. A little fertilizer in the spring and right before blooming should help.)

This lily has 6-12 in. re curved pink/red/white flowers, freckled and with a white edge. They bloom on 3 ft. stems. It blooms July through September. Once they get on a roll, there will be 5+ flowers on each stem.

The flowers are held erect or outward facing. Although they will probably not live forever, they do multiply. I generally grab an inexpensive box/bag of bulbs each spring and am rewarded every fall by the wonder of these flowers. Because they are tall and have many blooms, either stake or plant with other sturdy perennials that will support them.

The Stargazer lilies need to be planted in full sun and in well drained fertile soil. It will live in part shade but may not bloom as much or as large.

The real benefit is the heavenly fragrance. Plant them where you can enjoy the perfume. The fragrance will be stronger in the evenings and when the humidity is heavy. One bloom in a vase will last up to a week and perfume an entire room.

I put the Stargazer Lily and Tulips with the same mindset: They can be bought cheap, they are planted at a time of the year when you aren't necessarily thinking of them, and they are always a wonderful surprise when they do bloom.

(The ASPCA says it is toxic to cats but I've never seen my cat nibble on any part of the lily (either in doors or out.)

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