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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Drought Hardy Lilies

Lillies in full bloom this week in my garden.
A couple of years ago I received a box of lily bulbs from Brent and Becky's Bulbs in Virginia. I've known Brent and Becky for many years through Garden Writers Association and so I was excited to get to try out some of their bulb varieties.

I'm mostly ignorant about lilies since I focus primarily on plants for eating. As far as I know, most lilies aren't edible, and even if they are, why would you want to eat them when they produce such beautiful flowers?

Lilies up close.
I planted my bulbs, in mid-spring as I recall. I think they're in the family of "Asiatic" lilies, which are among the hardiest and easiest of lilies to grow. They'll thrive in a variety of soils and growing conditions. These you see here are about 5-6 ft. tall and have been in bloom for several weeks. Even in our 100 degree days, these tough lilies have stood tall. I give the soil around them a soaking every few days but otherwise I haven't done anything special for them.
Brent & Becky's Bulbs catalog.

While these lilies are beautiful and a real joy to have in the garden, the bigger thrill is their fragrance. Our days are hot and miserable and it's evening when I get to spend time in the garden. As I weed and move the garden hoses and sprinklers around, just as the air is getting still and cooling off, the lilies burst forth with the most enchanting fragrances! Some evenings I can smell them from 25 feet away - not a cloying, too-sweet fragrance, but a subtle, enticing smell that as relaxing as it is inspiring. Who knew lilies could be such a delicious plant to grow?

These yellow ones bloomed earlier.
The yellow ones, a bit shorter, finished blooming before the taller, two-colored ones at the top of the page started. Sorry, I don't know the names of either variety. Both have multiplied and spread nicely and require very little care. I'm going to give them some fertilizer and bone meal so they will bloom even better next year.
I checked Brent and Becky's Bulb catalog today and they're showcasing their next spring's bulbs, to be planted this fall. They have a selection of some fantastical new narcissus and tulips and even in this heat, it's time to think of next spring.

I hope wherever you are, you are having pleasant weather and rain, and if you have extra to share, these drought-ridden, brown hills could use some moisture.

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