Monday, February 04, 2013

Lilies, Lovely Lilies

Monday, February 4, 2013 

11.3° here on the mountain with a 4 mph wind and puffs of large snowflakes covering everything in  2" of cotton candy-like fluff. The squall is supposed to end by mid-morning and then the temperature will rise into the twenties--for a change.

When you're in the gardening business, customers become family and sometimes you lose track of a few members once in a while but sooner or later they seem to return. Yesterday morning Gail was at the Cabot store buying me a jar of grape jelly for a batch of Super Bowl meatballs. An older couple came up to her and inquired "Hi,  aren't you Gail, the lily lady?" Gail has a great memory and she remembered them as customers who purchased a number of lilium every year for years and then probably lost us when we moved. She explained where we are now and what we grow and they said they'd come see us this spring. The meeting is similar to inquiries I am receiving lately about where did the lilies go. Readers know the answer but gardeners who have been absent for a few years might not. But that's how it is with gardeners. They come to a nursery year after year and then find a new pursuit or a new nursery. But sooner or later you often see them again.

Here are pictures of a few we used to grow just so you can see what might still be on the market if you want to give lilies a try. Of all flowers, lily hybridization is probably the closest to the floral industry. That's why available lilies change every year and why a few years down the road you might not be able to find a favorite again when voles think more of yours than you might. Florists have to be happy with new colors and sizes and that's the rationale. A tall yellow lancifolium is up top, Arena next down here.


Bellingham hybrid

Acapulco

Orienpet named Empress

Black Beauty

Gold Band

Golden Stargazer

Leslie Woodriff

Regale

Mona Lisa

Rosy Dawn

Smoky Mountain

Siberia

Uchida

There are lots of lilies out there and the North American Lily Society is a good place to begin to gather information before making a decision. Today is a good day to give lilies a look-see. Good luck!

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond where 17 morning doves just showed up for breakfast. I have to get going here. I 'm taking a friend to a doctor at 9--orthopedic surgeon--get the picture?

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
On Facebook as Vermont Flower Farm and Gardens and also as George Africa
On Twitter as vtflowerfarm
Always here to help you grow your green thumb!

2 comments:

dwhr said...

Hi George-
I assume the lily leaf beetles gotten to you and your collection of Lilium? Just east in Lancaster I can't keep any going anymore without constant attention. More than the Oriental hybrids I've grown, I fear for the native L. canadense and others that are surely suffering from the attack of this critter. I have seen, in passing, that Orienpet hybrids are to some degree resistant, but have not investigated this in the literature. I'd be interested in your experience.
Thanks!
Dan

George Africa said...

Hi Dan; One might think that in Lancaster your elevation would be higher and the winters colder and that might kill the beetle but cold doesn't seem to matter. When I first saw them here I had just returned from a meeting on the west coast where people wanted to know what was going on. I didn't think I had beetles when I headed west but when I returned the first thing I saw was beetles on my beautiful L. superbum. I have seen them in my field studies on L. canadense but never as bad as on Asiatics. From maybe 3000 lilies here at the house we probably had 6 left last year. This was over a period of 6-7 years. We don't use chemicals so probably the loss was a bit faster but those numbers really are significant.....and sad!
George