A Warm Wash of Fragrance: Dreaming Of Lilies and Sultry Summer Evenings…

February 5th, 2011 § 6 comments

Dreaming of Warm Summer Nights and a Garden Filled with Softly Blushing Lilies…

Asiatic, Oriental, Trumpet, Species or Hybrid: I’ve yet to meet a lily without falling in love. And while my weekend may be filled with practical matters —shoveling, clearing hoop-houses of snow, cleaning grow lights and sorting seed packets— there’s sure to be a certain amount of summer fantasy slipping in…

Soaking in Summer Fantasies…

Yes, I confess. Dozens of summer-blooming bulb catalogs drape the rim of my claw-foot tub, where —surrounded by bubbles and steam— I find myself lost for hours; conjuring sultry August evenings and heavy-scented-air, filled with the fragrance of Black Beauties, Brasilias, Casa Blancas and Salmon Stars. Oh, those deliciously intoxicating Oriental lilies… Could there be a more glamorous summer flower? I’ve found great prices on lilies (and other summer flowering bulbs & tubers, like Dahlias) at Dutch Gardens and a fantastic selection at Brent & Becky’s Bulbs online, and I will be ordering them early to get a jump on the crowd! For me, this will be a year of mass perennial and bulb planting. And I plan on adding great waves of lilies —both for cutting and enjoying in the garden— this year.

The Colors of a Summer Sunset (Lilium ‘Pretty in Pink’)

Cultural Notes for Lilies

When planning your springtime lily plantings, keep in mind that these perennial bulbs prefer to be planted deeply –in rich, well-drained soil. Most lilies require full sun, but like their roots cool. Companion planting with other lush, leafy perennials —and mulching with clean, fresh organic material— helps to shield roots from the heat of the sun’s mid-day rays. Lilies are fantastic flowers for attracting pollinators like hummingbirds, butterflies and bees. However, lily leaf beetles (bright red nemesis of this gorgeous plant, and other flowers) can be a problem in some areas (emerging in March-June from debris surrounding lily plantings). I treat lily leaf beetle infestations organically with neem (targeted to lily foliage every 5-7 days when new growth and beetle larvae both emerge in spring).

Article and photos are ⓒ Michaela at TGE

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§ 6 Responses to A Warm Wash of Fragrance: Dreaming Of Lilies and Sultry Summer Evenings…"

  • Mattea says:

    Please tell me what is neem?

  • Michaela says:

    @Mattea – Thank you for the good question! Neem is a natural oil extracted from the seeds of a tropical tree by the same name (Neem, Azadirachta indica). The oil has many uses, including as a natural pesticide. Certain insects are killed when they eat leaves sprayed with neem oil. But non-leaf-eating beneficials will not be harmed (bees, for example to not eat leaves). But, you should only use neem in a targeted and controlled way (as with all pesticides/fungicides, including the organic ones). You can find more information by Googling neem or neem oil.
    Michaela

  • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Oh how lovely! I know I’m just jumping the gun here, but do you happen to know which lilies these are? They’re both beautiful, but ‘specially the one in the second shot. D

  • Michaela says:

    @ Deb – Hello there! Yes, I believe this Asiatic lily hybrid (not fragrant) is cv “Pretty in Pink”. It is from my local florist. I am trying to restrain myself from buying every lily bulb on the Dutch Garden site! ;) xo

  • lizkdc says:

    With my state hit by a major storm every week this month, and chest high snow banks, I find dreaming over summer flowers, and plant catalogues, almost like getting high…

    Love these pics. Love to think of my lily bulbs, dreaming under the snow.

  • Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Thank you for the info, I’ll see if I can lay my hands on some of each of these. They’re such a great colour combo. Lilies are SO addicting! Where else can you get such a huge amount of colour, form, variety and (sometimes) scent with so little effort?

    Well, the weather people blew it again last night… Calling for 5cm (2in) and we wound up getting at least twice that. (I know, not much in the Vermont way of things, but boy it’s a good thing that all that fluffy white powder is so darn beautiful eh? ; )
    xo D

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