Hello Lilies

“Hello Lilies”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Finally, we have had some rain though it was only .75 inches. However, the cloudy weather for the last three days have kept the temperatures down which I know has helped the plants in the garden. Day after day of dry weather and temperatures in the high 90’s is hard on even the most drought tolerant plants.

Catching up with what has been in the garden brings us to lilies which did very well this year. I have not had lilies in the garden very long, but I certainly do like them. Since these have done so well, I am considering adding more. The first ones I ever planted were Lilium longiforum or the traditional Easter lily. These do very well here in South Louisiana, in fact, they used to be grown here for the Easter lily trade prior to WWII.

 

 

 

The second lily in the garden is Triumphator. I started with this lily as a lucky accident and was so happy with the first blooms that I just had to get more.

 

 

 

Finally, the last lily to be planted in the garden and the last to bloom is a solid pink one. It was purchased as Lilium longiforum Pink Heaven, but I am not so sure that is what this lily is as it does not quite look like other photographs I have seen of this variety. However, if it is or isn’t Pink Heaven, it still is a very lovely flower.

 

 

 

I hesitated adding any lilies but the Easter lilies to my garden because I had heard that lilies do not do well this far south with our heat and humidity. Success with these makes me think there are others that may like this area. Lilies certainly add to the late spring/early summer garden, and I am glad I planted them.

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Peak Lily Time

“Peak Lily Time”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

We certainly have been enjoying the lilies that have been blooming for the past week. I haven’t been growing lilies very long. In fact, I think this is only about the third or fourth year I have had any in the garden. Not many people seem to be growing lilies here in South Louisiana. If you do see them, they seem to be in older neighborhoods, probably lilies that have been there for years. In fact, it was when I was driving through an older area and saw a stand of Easter lilies, that I decided to try growing them. I got my first Easter lilies (Lililum longiforum) from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs. These bulbs have been fantastic – blooming and multiplying.

 

 

 

When the Easter lilies did so well, I decided to try other ones. Since we have such rainy, hot and humid weather, local experts tend to caution against certain lilies. So, when I decided to plant more lilies, I went with ones similar to L. longiforum. So, I next tried what I later found out to be a pretty tough lily – Triumphator. The ones I bought last year from Brent and Becky’s are blooming now along with the white ones.

 

 

 

This year I added Lilium longiforum ‘Pink Heaven’ which has already bloomed earlier this month.

 

 

Since I have had so much fun with these lilies, I may start expanding my choices and try some others. Maybe the experts who say lilies don’t do well here just haven’t tried the right ones.

Lily Success

“Lily Success”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

“But who will watch my lilies, When their blossoms open white? By day the sun shall be sentry, And the moon and the stars by night!” Bayard Taylor

When I first started gardening, I unknowingly tried to grow many plants that did not like the hot, humid, Deep South. After many failures, I decided that I would only put my efforts on plants that I definitely knew would do well in my climate. Therefore, I read many books about gardening in the Gulf Coast. More than one author advised against growing any lilies except lilium longiforum, the Easter lily. Other lilies just didn’t do well here.

While that advice may be true, I have found several lilies that have done extremely well for me. Of course, I found out by accident that certain lilies will do well in South Louisiana. The first one I planted was the Madonna Lily (lilium candidum). I have had this one for years, but it was only after moving it to where there was more sun did I start to see flowers. While it is a small lily, it is certainly a lovely one.

 

 

I did plant Easter lilies, which should be blooming soon, and they have done extremely well for me. The next one I planted was the Triumphator lily that was part of a group of plants in a child’s watering can. I just wanted the watering can, so I planted the included bulbs anywhere. I was shocked when the next spring I was rewarded with lovely flowers. Since then I have purchased more Triumphator lilies for other areas of the garden.

 

 

This spring, I tried another lily, Pink Heaven. It, like Triumphator, is related to lilium longiforum which does well here. At first, when I saw the buds, I was afraid the bulbs were mismarked and they wouldn’t be pink. However, when they opened, they were pink, just lighter than I thought they would be.

 

 

I have also branched out into some Asiatic lilies. These were a mix and not very expensive, but they have returned for three years now so something must be agreeing with them. A red one opened its flower yesterday.

 

 

So, I feel that the lilies have done very well in a zone where the “experts” discouraged me from trying to grow these lovely flowers. I still would like to try some more lilies in the garden. It would be nice if more gardeners in this area would try to grow these great plants.

New Growth

“New Growth”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

At this time of year, when winter is slowly fading away but spring is not here yet, it is always thrilling to see new growth. It seems as if new leaves just pop up overnight. The Easter lilies are already up and making a stark contrast with the dead leaves of palm grass behind them. I am hoping the palm grass comes back, soon.

 

 

The Triumphator lilies that were placed in the garden last spring, are coming up also, and they seemed to have multiplied. Yah!

 

 

Most of my daylilies are evergreen ones, but a few are not. The dormant ones, too, are now showing green growth. Misty Mayhaw daylilies are up and seem vigorous in their early growth and should look very good this year.

 

 

Finally, some of the shrubs are showing signs of life. The hydrangeas are opening their leaf buds already. This photo was taken a few days ago, and I am sure that by now the leaves are even bigger.

 

 

While we still will probably have a few days of cold weather yet to come, there are definite signs that spring will arrive on time.

Favorite Lilies

“Favorite Lilies”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

I haven’t been growing lilies very long; this is only the third summer that I have had them in my garden.  I started growing them by accident.  I only noticed lilies after I had to find an alternate route to work because of road construction, and I started going through an older neighborhood where there were many gardens that had blooming Easter lilies.  After seeing them do well in so many older gardens, I just had to have some.  These are about the only true lilies that are grown around here.  About the time that I put in the Easter lilies, I bought a child’s watering can to use in a wreath.  In the watering can was several bulbs – liatris, some glads, and some Triumphator lilies.  These lilies looked bad.  Long, leggy, yellowed stems.  I planted them and quickly forgot about them.  They did nothing. The next spring, I noticed lilies coming up, and it took me several minutes to figure out where they came from.  To say I was surprised these poor lilies had made it to sprout up is putting it mildly.  I couldn’t believe how lovely the flowers were, so this year I ordered some Triumphator lilies from Beck and Becky’s Bulbs, and again success.

 

Lily Triumphator (redu)

 

This is how the flowers looked when they first open – big trumpets with dark pink centers and a green throat.  I planted these near the pink vitex and a Blushing knockout rosebush.  The colors work so well together especially as the lilies age since the pink fades slightly.

 

Lily and Vitex (redu)

 

Lilly and Blushing Knckt (redu)

 

Even when the lily flowers fade, the soft pink is still lovely.

 

Lily Triumphator Older (redu)

 

One more thing that makes thes lilies so fantastic is the fragrance.  While it does carry a distance in the garden, it is not overpowering or cloying.  It is a delightful, fresh scent.

As you can see, I have really fallen for these lilies.  Now, the only problem is do I order more of these next year or wait a while until they multiply and then spread them around the garden.  If they multiply like the Easter lilies did, I won’t have to wait long to have more.  I don’t think I can have enough of these lovely pink and white beauties.

Trumpets Blaring

“Trumpets Blaring”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

The Easter lilies have started blooming.  These lilies (lilium longiflorum) grow well here in the deep South, and after planting them, I wanted other kinds of  lilies.  You could say these particular lilies got me hooked on trying more lilies.

Going to work in the mornings, I pass through an older neighborhood.  Here is where, during the late spring, I started seeing Easter lilies in the gardens.  It brought back memories of childhood when if seems just about everybody had these pretty, white trumpets growing in their yards.  I, then decided I needed to have them in mine, too.  Unfortunately, not many places sell this particular lily, and I wanted more than just a few.  Buying blooming lilies at Easter and then planting them in the garden would be expensive and take years to get a good stand of lilies.  Brent and Becky’s Bulbs came to the rescue.  They sell the bulbs at a good price.  Soon, I had eighteen lilies planted in the garden which quickly sprouted and bloomed.  The next year they multiplied, and last fall I had enough to spread some to the back garden.

 

Easter Lily Sky (redu)

 

Easter Lily Group (redu)

 

Easter Lily Group Clsp (redu)

 

Easter Lily Clsp (redu)

 

Once planted in the garden, these lilies do not bloom at Easter, but that is okay with me.  I am so happy that my vision of a large grouping of lilies has turned out just as I hoped it would.  All these white flowers standing tall and looking like trumpets blaring is a wonderful sight.  I am so glad I decided to plant Easter lilies.

 

Fragrant Red and White Beauties

“Fragrant Red and White Beauties”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

After my first experiment with Easter lilies went so well, I decided to try more lilies.  Last spring I bought some assorted lilies that were very inexpensive to see how other lilies would do in the garden before I invested in better bulbs.  A few did bloom last year which really didn’t surprise me since I bought them rather late in the planting season.  Of the ones that did have flowers, one looked like Stargazer and another one was a pretty white one.  This year another has bloomed – a gorgeous red color.

 

Red Lily (redu)

 

After seeing this beautiful red color, I was thinking I might move it to a more prominent place so that the flower could be seen and enjoyed more.  All and all, not too bad for an inexpensive bulb.  This certainly encourages me to try more lilies.

Another shrub has started blooming – the daisy gardenia.  I posted a few days back about the more common double flowering gardenias starting to open, and now these singles have started.

 

Daisy Gardenia (redu)

 

I usually prefer double flowers, but I can’t make up my mind which type of gardenia I like best.  I do like the doubles, but there is something very appealing about the simplicity of the single flowers of the daisy gardenia.  Since I have both, it is nice not to have to choose.

Now that most of the jasmine and privet have finished blooming, it is nice to have the gardenias and lilies to perfume the air.  I am certainly going to miss these fragrant beauties when they stop blooming.

Madonna Lily

“Madonna Lily”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

One of my oldest plants is this Madonna Lily.  It is one of the first purchases I made when I was just starting out trying to do some landscaping around our home.  It was a mail ordered, with a few other fall bulbs, from Parks Seed.  Lured by the photographs and the description that it would do well in our area, I succumbed to this lily.  When planted, it grew well but never did flower.  I think it was the lack of sun.

When I made the circle garden about six or seven years ago, I transplanted this little lily to front and center.  Now, I knew it would get sun.  The next spring, sure enough, there was a stalk and one small flower.  It was much smaller than I thought it would be, but I have learned since then that it has a small flower.  Every year after that, the plant has slowly grown bigger, and this is the best year for its flowers.  There are three stalks this year, so there are many flowers opening now.

madonna-lily-redu

Other interesting facts about this Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum) is that the flowers are used for an essential oil in perfume.  It is from the eastern Mediterranean area and is called the Madonna lily because it was so often used in paintings of the Blessed Mother.

madonna-lilies-redu

This lily grows during the winter, blooms in the spring, and then dies back in the summer.  They also do not root stem as other lilies do, and because of this should only be planted with about two inches of soil on top of the bulb.  It is an easy to care for lily because I didn’t know very much about gardening and nothing about lilies when I planted it, and it has done well.

Even though this is a small sized lily, it is certainly a star in my garden.  Madonna lilies have stood for purity for over 3,000 years and when it blooms you can see why.  The color of its white flower is like no other.  It is such a pure white, it is hard to describe the difference this white color is.  “Candidum” is Latin for “dazzling white” and a better name couldn’t be found.

Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

“Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

Things don’t have to be expensive to look good.  Case in point, the Triumphator lilies that are just starting to open.  I planted these particular ones two years ago.  Last year I wrote about how they turned out to be surprise lilies which you can read about here.  These were blooming about mid-May last spring, but are opening now almost two weeks earlier.  This particular flower is from an off set bulb so there is only one flower, but I can see that the big bulbs have produced the usual four.

 

triumphator-lily-redu

 

These lovely lilies and a few other minor bulbs in a small watering came to a grand total of under six dollars, and  I really only wanted the watering can for a front door wreath.  Since everything was about six dollars, I figure these bulbs probably worked out to about fifty cents each.  I was shocked when these lily bulbs sprouted and bloomed, and even this year, surprised that they have returned and made off-sets that have flowered.  Now, that they have shown they have staying power, these particular lily bulbs will have to be dug up and replanted in more ideal conditions.  They deserve it.

I have only planted lilies in the garden in the last two years, starting with Easter lilies that I bought from Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.  Since I had read that the Easter lilies or Lilium longiflorum were just about the only ones that did well this far south because of our heat and humidity, I was reluctant to try any others.  After these “watering can” lilies did so well, I have tried others from the big box stores’ bargain selection.  All have returned and are showing buds.  Now, I figure if those that are subjected to poor storage in hot plastic bags do well here, ones purchased from higher end sources will be worth spending the money.  This spring I ordered more Triumphator lilies from Brent and Becky’s since their Easter lilies are fantastic.  I think from now on, more lilies will be added to my garden every year.  I am so glad that I have found out that lilies can do well here, and to think I have these Triumphator lilies to thank, lilies that started out puny, straggly, and pitiful, but ended up being a star.

They Made It

“They Made It”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 

 

As I have written before, I do not have much experience with lilies.  This is only the third year that I am growing lilium longiflorum or Easter Lily in the ground.  The first year, I knew they would do well because they came straight from the growers and then into the garden.  Since the flower was in the bulb from the year before, I was not concerned that they wouldn’t bloom.  Last year, I was a little anxious about the blooms.  Did they get enough sun? Were they planted at the right depth?  I needn’t have worried.  They produced spectacular flowers.

What did surprise me last year and again this year is how early the foliage emerged.  Late fall arrived, and I could see green shoots coming up.  Last winter when we had several hard freezes, I covered the green sprouts with newspaper and then plastic, and they came through with no damage at all.  Last night we had a rather unexpected hard freeze, and I didn’t have a chance to cover the Easter Lilies.  It got down to 28 for almost six hours.  I thought surely that my Easter lilies were going to be nipped back so bad that there would be no blooms this year.

I leave for work when it is still dark, so it wasn’t until this afternoon that I was able to go out and check on them.  Surprise, surprise (at least to me).

 

lilies-redu

 

No damage – none at all; they came through just fine.  I always thought that lilies were rather delicate or fussy plants, but these guys are tougher than I thought.  I had no idea that they could survive a freeze of six hours unprotected.  I am impressed, relieved, and happy that the Easter lilies made it through the freeze and will be able to bloom in just a few months.

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