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.
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.
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?
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.”
‘Casa Blanca’ is the third and final act in my year of lilies. (Last year it was only a one act play.)
In June the Asiatic lilies burst upon the scene with bright yellow, orange, and red flowers.
Very striking, but sadly they have no fragrance.
As the Asiatics are fading in July, the orienpet lily ‘Conca d’Or’ opens its blooms 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.
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?