Lily days

Lily has to be one of the most overused descriptors in horticulture. Go figure, given how aptly it defines so many flowers: the word itself has a trumpeting flare and and if I use my imagination, a sweet fragrance too… Spring is plenty-lily-ful with trout lily, lily of the valley, checkered lilies, and lily-flowering tulips doing their thing, but starting a week or two ago, we entered the liliest days of all.

Lilium species have been particularly well represented. Last fall we planted Orienpet lilies in the North and Rose Gardens, including ‘Altari’, ‘Miss Feya’, ‘Orania’, and ‘Robina’, and have added a few more white martagon lilies every year. And just this minute on a shady path from the Water Garden to the shore, the native turkscap lilies (Lilium superbum), my inspiration for this post, are in full bloom, uneaten by deer. (As always, click on pictures for bigger images and use the arrows to scroll through the sets.)


Daylilies (Hemerocallis) have never been my favorite plants — I find their foliage disappointing, and the spent flowers remind me of dirty tissues — but there’s no denying the snazzy of a well-groomed daylily or colony of them in full bloom. I could get lost in the green-centered ones… and woozy from deep-breathing their sweet and sometimes subtle fragrance… After taking a bit of a daylily break in the North Garden, we transplanted a few pink ones from the Rose Garden, and Betsy, a daylily aficionado and advocate, chose a couple of apricot-y favorites (‘Lusty Little Lulu’ and ‘Zella Virginia’) to add in. Between old and new, early and late, the North Garden daylilies should be in bloom for at least another few weeks.


Elsewhere in the gardens you’ll also find blackberry lilies (Iris domestica/Belamcanda chinensis) and their candy lily (×Pardancanda) cousins. A gloriosa lily (Gloriosa rothschildiana) climbs one of the cutting garden trellises. Some of the cutest pineapple lilies (Eucomis ‘Tiny Piny Opal, Pearl, and Ruby’) are blooming in the container garden, and plantain lilies (Hosta spp.) are coming into bloom all over the property. To think, some gardeners only grow hosta for the foliage.


Is it lily days in your garden too? Do you have particular favorites, or any I missed?