An Ode to Lilies
These grassy-leaved wonders are awesome for naturalizing, and are possibly the hardiest, most versatile plants I grow. They will blossom anywhere, from full sun to nearly full shade, and don't seem to care about how much water they get. There is now a wonderful selection of reblooming daylilies available, so you may get a second set of blooms in early fall (once the plants are established)... but I have yet to experience this phenomenon.
Easy to grow, quick to multiply, showy, and mid-height, these lilies are great beginner lilies. They tend to bloom earlier in the season, and become more beautiful with each passing year. There are also Double Asiatic Lilies, but I only have two of these plants so far, as they seem to be harder to find, and more expensive.
Easy to grow and very exotic looking, Tiger Lilies and their Hybrids are nice late summer bloomers. They are speckled with curled petals, and can have as many as 20 blooms per stem at maturity. The Turks Cap lilies have an identical form, but without the distinctive Tiger Lily speckling.
Trumpet Lilies have an elongated cup with just the tips of the petals reflexing. The detailing on the outer surface of the petals is just as beautiful as the interior of the flower. I had ordered a set of 5 trumpet lilies but only 3 grew, and of those, only one has bloomed. I believe they require a little more time than most lilies to become established, but they are very pretty, and unique.
I first saw this variety through Breck's Bulbs, and they called them 'Lily Trees'. They say that by the third year of blooming, the lilies will stand around 8 feet tall, and have massive, tree-like stalks. I bought about a dozen 'lily tree' bulbs 2 years ago, and added more last year. The second year stalks are already about 4 feet high, and are still growing. They are hybrids of Oriental Lilies, so they will bloom late this year.... and I can't wait!
The wonderful thing about all of these lily varieties is that they multiply each year, and rely on bulb splitting every 5 years or so to maintain their health. Basically, you need to dig up and share all of your beautiful lilies with your friends and neighbours, in order to keep your own plants healthy... What a wonderful, beautiful, generous flower!!!