Oh, ‘Casa Blanca’, What Happened To You?

I can’t deny it any further: my ‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental Lilies did not make it through the winter.

7-22 Casablancas 3
‘Casa Blanca’ Oriental Lily in happier times, summer 2012

This is a bitter loss, indeed. I loved my ‘Casa Blanca’. The pure, ivory white blooms. But above all, that fragrance, a fragrance that made me want to lie down on the ground and wriggle with happiness.

I don’t understand what went wrong. They seemed to be happy. The stalks were coming up thick and healthy looking. OK, a couple had borers, but I pulled those out, bulbs and all.

They were given pride of place in the driveway border.
They were given pride of place in the driveway border.

The location, I thought, was good. A nice spot in the raised driveway border. Sun, good drainage. I provided them with a happy home, and yet they are gone.

Can anyone explain to me what happened to my ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies? Maybe if I understood, the pain would be a little more bearable. Perhaps, also, it will give me the courage to try again.

68 Comments on “Oh, ‘Casa Blanca’, What Happened To You?

  1. Some things are never explained. That is why it is so important to enjoy the moment and treasure it.

  2. Oh my gosh…now that is a real gardening loss.

    So sorry.

    Jen

  3. Hi Jason My money is on squirrels. Or evil, evil rabbits. Or those little rodent things. . . . voles, I think.

    • Rabbits are evil, aren’t they. The furry cute thing is just a ruse. I actually think there may be a rabbit nest in that border.

  4. I’m not thinking voles or rabbits, I’ve always thought the bulbs are poisonous, but I will say they are very susceptible to rot. They should always be planted on their sides so the scales can’t hold moisture. But even as I sometimes see them diminish from year to year, sometimes the offsets come roaring back after the absence of a year. Lilies just seem to never really be gone. They don’t like to be overly crowded either.

  5. They are my favorite! Sorry for you! We don’t even try to grow lilies up here due to the deer!

  6. Lily beetle? I occasionally manage to get one flowering, but those little red beetles come along most years and finish them off. Maybe they’ll turn up again next year? My mum grows hers in deep pots so she can put them in a sheltered spot for winter. Not sure if the cold is the problem, or the damp.

  7. I understand your sorrow! Had lots of Fritillaria persica Adiyaman coming up this spring and then shortly before flowering they died, just like that. Frustration!! Did your lilies show any sign of life at all this spring or did they disappear over the winter?

  8. There are many mysteries in the garden, and this is very sad. I seem to have more lily shoots than usual this year, and so far no beetles, but we’ll see what actually makes it into bloom.

  9. I am like commonweeder, far more lilies than usual – a result of dry years. The comments above hit all the likely possibilities. Is it only the ‘Casa Blanca’? They are big blooming and sometimes just exhaust in time. I have them in my garden too.

    • Yes, just Casa Blanca. I have a whole bunch of Asiatic lilies and they are fine. I’ve had those for seven or eight years. Problem is they are not fragrant. I wonder if I should try another type of lily that is fragrant, like some orienpet hybrids?

    • They disappeared over winter, though I did lose a couple last year, I guess to rabbits. Haven’t seen any signs of voles in the front borders.

  10. Oh, so sad! I would be devastated in mine didn’t bloom – they are such a joy to see. (Love your description of their scent!) Hope you figure it out, or that they just as mysteriously return again next year.

  11. Ugh, that’s SO disappointing! That’s the thing about plants, sometimes they just die…and we may never know why 😦 I only have a few Lilies, but they are one of those plants that I will go to every spot where one is planted, and I can’t relax until they are all accounted for! I had one loss this spring, the same thing, it came up, seemed fine, then withered away.

  12. I’m so sorry! If memory serves, these were the flowers that made you want to roll around on the ground in ecstasy but decided that the neighbors already had enough evidence of your insanity to have you committed. Oh well, it is better to have loved and lost and all that. Hey, there are lots of fish in the sea, um I mean there are more Casa Blanca bulbs at the nurseries. You could buy some C.B. plants already in bloom and place them around your garden.

  13. Oh, that is so sad 😦 You sound the same as I do about these lilies. They are like oak trees, so huge and solid, I never think they can come to any harm. I am running out to my garden now to make sure mine are okay…

  14. Dear Jason, I reckon your neighbors are involved. Or maybe their butler, like in classic crimes. I think they’ve seen how beautiful those lilies looked and they stole the bulbs in low season, so that you didn’t realize until it’s too late.
    They really looked good in that bed, indeed, I might copy the idea for my grass garden… Although I’m not very lucky with lilies in my heavy clay either…
    PS: what’s that blue spiky thing on the left? An agastache? Oh and what’s behind it? A butler with scissors…?

  15. I have a flock of those very lilies, growing together with some muscadet (pinky) ones. Every year there are more, growing and blooming cheerfully in terrible clay with rare water. And the ground around here is riddled with holes– ground squirrels or voles or maybe big snakes… But I do have a guard terrier. So get a guard terrier before you buy the new bulbs because you are clearly the victim of a plot.

    Happy summer.

  16. I love Casa Blanca lilies (although my attempt to establish them in my own garden by dividing my mother’s bulbs was not successful), so I feel your pain. I have learned from experience that sometimes plants that are no-shows one year mysteriously reappear the next, so I would be inclined to wait a year before doing anything. Since you love them so much and they have previously done well in your garden, I think it makes sense to replace them if they don’t come back next year.

  17. I agree with Jean…wait a year even 2 and be surprised. Many lilies will appear and then disappear for me. Rot, voles, beetles, deer or just crazy weather….I tend to think crazy weather.

  18. AH poop! What a bummer Jason…they were indeed beauties! I hope that you will give it another go because they were so stunning! The good news is your bed is filled with so many stunning plants to carry you through the season!

  19. Oh dear, I feel your pain! Just the name alone makes them worth growing! Appearance and scent are important for a plant but it’s also nice if they have a cool name.

    • I do appreciate a good name. ‘Casa Blanca’ sounds as if it should be growing in a bar accompanied by ‘As Time Goes By”.

  20. oh that’s sad. 😦 they were so pretty. I don’t know anything about them unfortunately my only wondering is that maybe you should pull the bulbs out in the fall but with other types of lilies that’s not true is it. Try again, plant more of them to increase your chances and keep them well watered even into the fall so they get established. (?)

  21. If the fragrance makes you lie on the floor and wriggle with happiness, you simply MUST replace it! Here, Lilies are at the mercy of mice, rabbits and squirrels.

  22. So sorry that you lost your beautiful lilies. Hopefully you will find the cause, plant more, and live happily ever after. 🙂

  23. I can feel your pain because I will be in such situation if it happens to my beloved plants. And, especially if the plant has intoxicating smell…oh divine! I am sorry; I have no idea, hopefully someone will have.

  24. Oh no! That’s such a shame, they’re beautiful flowers and I’ve been told the scent is amazing. I’ve even been looking at getting some bulbs but got stuck at where I could plant them. Unhappy lilies normally just fade slowly and gracefully, I wonder if yours succumbed to being eaten. If the soil is particularly heavy and it was particularly wet so they sat in cold wet soil over the winter then they may have become very unhappy and rotted, but I guess we might never know. I would get a large pot and try new bulbs in that and move the pot to where the old ones were. Despite the heartache with these lost lilies I don’t think you should give up on such a beautiful flower if you can help it.

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