Lilies Are the Whole Flower Package: Beauty, Fragrance and Strength
The phrase to gild the lily says it all. Why would anyone attempt to improve or adorn something that is already perfect. The reference is not intended for the tulip, peony or daisy; it pays homage to the lily–in my mind, a floral gem with few peers.
It’s hard to believe these scaly, bearded bulbs can release such fanciful, fragrant wands.
Dramatic, fragrant and easy to grow, lilies are at home in Pacific Northwest and much of the rest of the country from Zones 5-8.
Now through spring is the time to plant lily bulbs, that is once the ground is thawed for those in colder climes. Bulbs are readily available at sources online and at nurseries this time of year–bagged, dormant and ready to woo the uninitiated (and the devoted fan) come July and August.
This is my lily-bulb-planting secret weapon, a drill with a bulb auger attachment. Next to the wheel, these are two of my favorite inventions (grunting like caveman). This tool duo can make bulb planting a breeze. The secret to site selection is excellent drainage and at least six hours of sun each day. If too shaded, they tend to lean in search of more light and produce fewer flowers.
I look for spaces in the garden free of spring blooming bulbs. In the above photo, I “drill” between the snowbells and bluebells to a depth of about 10 inches. Then, I return four inches of soil to the hole, place the bulb in the hole tip up so it’s six inches deep and return the rest of the soil, patting down firmly.
Oriental Lilies are July and August bloomers with a very strong fragrance, 3-6′ in height with a wide variety of patterns and colors on forward-facing blossoms. My favorite varieties include: Muscadet, Casa Blanca, Excelsior, Lovely Girl and Dizzy.
Trumpet (Aurelian) Lilies can be towering at 4-7′ and well-suited at nose height to share their perfume with every passerby. Blooming in July and August, trumpet lilies are nodding and more tubular in shape like the Easter lily, a well-known but shorter variety of trumpet lily. My hands-down favorite is Regale, the petals are white on the inside and burgundy on the outside. They are especially beautiful planted en masse.
I can thank John Singer Sargent for moving to me to plant drifts of lilies. One look at his dreamy painting Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose and I was hooked.
A word about Asiatic Lilies, I’m not a huge fan. If they were a beer, I’ll call them LITE, a watered down version of Oriental and Trumpet lilies–shorter, brassier and usually without fragrance.
While Boz and Gracie like their lilies, they are particularly fond of hostas–bigger, better leaves for hiding bones under.
One year ago: Debonair in Duct Tape at Any Age