Thursday, December 8, 2016

Frank and His Tigers

A stem of my tigers.
“Taliesin” is the Wisconsin home of Frank Lloyd Wright.  Wright designed the building AND the gardens.  If you’ve ever looked at any of Wright’s designs, you can see how he was inspired by nature.  This privately owned home is perhaps one of the best examples of just how intertwined these two passions played out in his work life.

The current Taliesin Preservation Foundation owns an 800-acre campus including buildings from nearly every decade of Wright’s career.  The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation owns Wright’s Spring Green WI and Scottsdale AR estates. 

My tiger and phlox.
Because Wright designed his homes to incorporate the landscapes, is it any wonder so many of the homes attributed to him have a feeling of nature and building holding hands to form unity. 

Whether you like Wright’s personal life or his professional work, his landscaping work is awesome.  The history of Wright’s life is as intriguing as any suspense novel; especially surrounding Taliesin. 

One book you might enjoy is “The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright” by Derek Fell.

With the history and life of Wright published in many books and articles, this article will focus on one of his favorite plants:  the orange Tiger Lily.

A Tiger from my garden
Lilium lancifolium “Splendens” was registered in 1804 - although they’ve been around for centuries in their native Japan.  (They were formerly L. tigrinum.)  I’ve seen these beautiful orange recurved pendent flowers in the oldest of cemeteries and in old abandoned yards. 

The tiger description comes from the black speckled spots on the petals.  They bloom late summer on 30-36 inch stems.

Like so many old garden plants, you have to want to have a piece of history, search out where to find and then let residents of your home enjoy them for another several hundred years. 

From my garden
The reason for having to search for them in nurseries is because they’ve gone out-of-style.   Today many garden designers feel the need to do something new with all new plants in a new way.  This often eliminates the heirloom plants from their designs, hence from publications and then from nurseries.  At that point, plant suppliers will stop raising and carrying them and we must depend on a few heirloom preservation companies or from someone sharing from their old garden.

Tiger Lilies at the Hopewell Cemetery, Howard County IN
Established 1848.
What’s so good about these orange tiger lilies?  Just about everything!  They are nearly indestructible.  They were the first Asian lily to reach American gardens; first starting in the south but they do well as far north as zone 4a. 

Tiny bulblets on the stem fall and root themselves for easy increasing but I don’t find them invasive.  They transplant easily.  Old House Gardens is supplying Taliesin’s gardens with these lilies for their garden restoration project.  

Voyageurs National Park in northern Minnesota.
With thousands of tiger lilies - Web picture
I’ve had these in my current gardens for almost ten years and they bloom at a time when the splash of color is beautiful.  Because they start blooming on the lowest buds first, the plant never looks messy.  They also keep well in a vase.  My little patch bloomed for twenty days this year. 

Want a little history?  A little Frank Lloyd Wright design?  Want to fill out a Japanese garden?  Need a splash of orange in late summer?  Need something totally easy?  The orange tiger lily “Splendens” is totally splendid! 
Found on line by unknown artist.

No comments:

Post a Comment