I Need More Lilies

The ‘Casa Blanca’ oriental lilies are blooming in the back garden’s raised bed. I planted them last fall. There used to be ‘Casa Blanca’ in the Driveway Border, but they are no more. Foul play has not been ruled out.

'Casa Blanca' oriental lily
‘Casa Blanca’ oriental lily

Anyhow, these are wonderful lilies. The ivory white petals are rich and luxurious. But it’s the deliciously sweet fragrance, which can be detected ten feet away from the plant, that has me in its thrall. Some people think the scent of oriental lilies is too strong. I, on the other hand, have the same approach to floral fragrance as I do to floral color: you can never have too much. It is probably a good thing I do not wear perfume.

The lily that almost shocked the neighbors.
The lily that almost shocked the neighbors.

One of the neighbors was admiring the beauty of ‘Casa Blanca’ when she added, ” But those lilies are practically obscene.” It is true, I think, that lilies in general and ‘Casa Blanca’ in particular remind us strongly that flowers are about sexual reproduction. How could they not when the sexual organs, the pistil and stamen, are so prominent?

I did a rather clumsy job of staking because I am not taking any chances. Other 'Casa Blanca' lilies in my garden have met tragic accidents.
I did a rather clumsy job of staking because I am not taking any chances. Other ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies in my garden have met tragic accidents.

Which is odd when you consider that white lilies have often been used as symbols of chastity and purity. The late garden writer Cassandra Danz had this to say regarding another white lily, Lilium candidum: “In Renaissance paintings… at the moment when the angel tells Mary that she is going to be a mother, there is always a Madonna lily in the picture… It’s there because it represents fecundity and new life. Only later did it become associated with virginity and death, in that order … What a gorgeous creature this lily is, and virginity has nothing to do with it.”

Asiatic lily
Asiatic lily

‘Casa Blanca’ is the third and final act in my year of lilies. (Last year it was only a one act play.)

More Asiatic lilies
More Asiatic lilies

In June the Asiatic lilies burst upon the scene with bright yellow, orange, and red flowers.

All together now.
All together now.

Very striking, but sadly they have no fragrance.

As the Asiatics are fading in July, the orienpet lily ‘Conca d’Or’ opens its blooms ย of yellow and ivory in the Driveway Border. Like my current ‘Casa Blanca’, the ‘Conca d’Or’ were planted last fall. They are supposed to grow to around six feet, but apparently it is normal for them to reach just one third of that height in their first year.

'Conca d'Or' orienpet lily
‘Conca d’Or’ orienpet lily

Orienpets are fragrant crosses of oriental and trumpet lilies. I’m looking forward to seeing my ‘Conca d’Or’ at maturity.

But here’s the exciting news: I should have a new place to put some new hardy lilies this fall. I’ll talk about why shortly. Now, though, I want to ask what lilies you would recommend. It can be tallish but not a giant, and it must be fragrant. In terms of color, we want to avoid pink or purely white for this location. So – any suggestions?

51 Comments on “I Need More Lilies

  1. Nice collection of Lilies! While I’m a big fan of Lilies and Dayliiies, I don’t know much about specific cultivars to recommend one. I have a mix in my garden, but the tags are gone. Mine mostly bloom in July, although I have some tall yellow ones that are still blooming. “Casa Blanca” and “Conca d’or'” are my favorites in this post.

  2. Judy’s photos are so much better than mine. I guess the ipad does not suffice. But maybe it’s not the camera, but the photographer.

  3. Oh I am SO envious! I had the most exquisite lily garden in MA. and I miss it every time I read lily posts! I totally get why you’re excited to plant more!!
    Your Conco d’Or are just stunning!! Orienpets are so special!

  4. I always feel I need more lilies at this time of the year. I absolutely love Honeymoon but it looks very similar to your Concha d’ Or. I also wouldn’ t be without Lilium speciosum rubrum because it is beautiful, flowers profusely and is late flowering, so it extends the season.

    • Just looked up ‘Honeymoon’ and it is carried by John Scheepers. It is similar to Conca d’Or but could still be worth a try.

    • I just looked up Martagon lilies and Brent and Becky’s has a variety called ‘Arabian Knight’ that looks great. How fragrant are they?

      • Good question. I’ve seen them but don’t grow them, and have never stuck my face into them to find out. Apparently they don’t smell like orientals. I’ve seen reports that describe the scent as “musky.” Others say it’s neutral. And still others call it almost offensive.

  5. Hi Jason, I love lilies, particularly Regale and Stargazer, of which there were lots in the previous garden. Being bulbs and buried deep, we sadly left them behind. The good thing is that they’re not too expensive to buy and I’m looking forward to the day when one of the borders is prepared for hundreds of bulbs to be planted in long sweeping ribbons. It’s all a long way off yet so I haven’t begun looking at varieties to plant so I can’t help you with recommendations I’m afraid.

  6. Beautiful pictures.
    I’ve loved ‘Casa Blanca’ everytime I’ve seen it, but just never gave it a try. The orientals seem a little short lived for me.
    This fall may be a lily fall. I’ve had a list put together since last year, and I think this is the fall it will happen. Lots of tall ones though, I’m all about the monster lilies!

    • I like them, too, but I don’t think I’ve got the right space available. Although “tall” is a relative term, I could probably grow them up to 4′.

  7. omg lilies.They are among my favourite favourite flowers. Favourite flower family even. From wild onions to trout lilies, I think I love them all. Each year after Easter I go to stores to rescue the lilies that would normally get thrown out or get reduced to give away prices. I was more successful growing them in Alberta but I just can’t give them up. Someday I’d like to try one of the tall varieties like the martagons in my tropical bed.

      • I don’t know if it just me. Lilies just don’t thrive here. They will come back for a couple years but then kind of disappear. I thought maybe we don’t get enough chill hours for them to thrive.

  8. How beautiful they are, especially the white ones. The lily beetle did for all of mine this year so nice that I can enjoy yours.xxx

  9. Beautiful lilies. I have 2 scented ones, and I am also looking for new ones.
    I have seen some great ones, which all are scented.
    Gold Class, Big Brother, Robert Swanson and Yellow Space.

  10. I am mostly a fragrant pink or white lily person so I am not sure what I could recommend but I look forward to seeing what others think. My other colored lilies are not fragrant.

  11. If I recall a previous post of yours about oriental lilies, they made you (at least want to) roll around your garden in ecstasy over their fragrance. Hmmm. I’m kind of fond of the African Queen strain of trumpets. They have an amazing fragrance and a nice cantaloupe color. http://www.bdlilies.com/l6018.html

  12. Oh, what a lovely collection of lilies! That bright orange one really stands out for me. I`m behind on my blog reading and see รŒ`ve missed a few!

  13. How very beautiful! I can’t be of much help in the suggestion department. I always went for the white or pink lilies, except for the day lilies and there it was yellow, and red! I did once grow auratum Gold Band which may be too white for you, but the yellow bands and “freckles” are fabulous!

  14. I never thought about lilies as being obscene…but Casa blanca is definitely a stunner and I’d like to have it too ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Great display of lilies. โ€˜Conca dโ€™Orโ€™ is very nice. I haven’t grown any in many years but can see how valuable they are. The deer might enjoy them too much though in my garden.

  16. My mother had Casa Blanca lilies in her garden. Not only are they voluptuous looking, but their fragrance is intoxicating. I’m looking forward to including them in the new fragrant garden that will grow outside the bedroom window of my new addition.

  17. Oh Lilies are so lovely! Where I used to live the beetle & slugs were awful beasts to them ๐Ÿ˜ฆ If I were you and were ok about buying things on line, Oakes Daylilies have some AWESOME varieties! I don’t know about their fragrance-you would have to ask. I had good luck with their Lilies and have bought some for my aunt who also has had good luck but deer & critters have been not let many bloom this year ๐Ÿ˜ฆ We both live in NH.

    • I have bought daylilies from Oakes – very good quality. As for deer, I thank God on a regular basis that we don’t have them in our area.

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