Sunday, July 22, 2007

Lilies that look down


As far as I can discover, turk's cap lilies can mean any lilies with flowers that hang from the stem in a pendulous fashion with reflexed petals, but the two lilies most commonly called turk's cap are martagon and superbum. (The word martagon is derived from a Turkish word meaning a certain type of turban.) I have been fascinated with these lilies for as long as I have been growing lilies. I find them more subtle and interesting, though they really need to be tall to be viewed properly. And then, oh dear, the staking and the corn-like stalks. All except for the martagons; they have handsome whorled foliage and never need staking. Mine (above) bloomed in June.

I have taken close-ups of all of these, because they're too lanky to photograph any other way.

The henryi (many cultivars have this name; I also have a henryi clematis) is one of my favorites, though I have it in a rather shady spot, and the stalks are completely hopeless without support. No matter; it still manages to look spectacular. I love the raised papillae. This is always the star come Garden Walk. Everyone asks me the name and where I got it, but most lose interest when I say mail order. The idea of mail ordering plants and bulbs is still foreign to many gardeners around here. They like to buy what they can see in person.

Then, there are hybrids that have the form. This is Scheherazade, from The Lily Garden, who create many of the lilies they sell. They also have a bunch of Asiatics that have the form. One of them, Red Velvet, is what I'm suggesting to firefly, to replace the poorly performing pumilum, but I also see they have Viva, which is brighter. It really looks just like pumilum (if one was to have one that actually grew). Scheherazade has a light spicy fragrance; it's subtle and very fresh. I can rely on these and the henryi to bloom from mid-July to early August.

All three of these lilies have my highest recommendation; they've been going strong in my garden for five years or better.

8 comments:

Rosengeranium said...

Oh how I envy your lillies! They're so goodlooking! I'm all with you on mailordering. In Sweden this is the only way to get seeds from old swedish cultivated plants. Our bigger garden chains tend to have a watered down assortment combined with garden chairs and gigantic barbecue machines...

firefly said...

I don't know why I made the mistake of lumping all lily species together, but I assumed they all looked like daylilies (which work in the garden especially at a distance, but are not my favorites).

Ironically, as bad as the pumilum are (you have to stick your face into the gladiolus foliage to find them now), something about the form is eye-catching and now I want more of them.

There is a spot off the side of the deck currently occupied by multiplying daylilies that I think will soon be occupied by some martagons.

Thank you for posting these pictures and info. Does the martagon in the first photo have a more specific name, or is it a species form? That one is my favorite.

firefly said...

I found them ... amazing stuff at Old House Gardens!

EAL said...

Ah yes. Kind of a budget buster, but the stuff is good.

They have the white too. I am buying more of both types for a new partial shade bed I just made.

Keep in mind, the martagon is a June bloomer and you will not see blooms after that. You might want to simply make room in the daylilies, not replace them.

EAL said...

Also, the fragrance is an acquired taste. Atypical for a lily.

I believe in full disclosure.

Wayne Stratz said...

just saw your link to garden walk and amazingly my wife and I are coming to Buffalo this weekend. How cool is that!

love your lillies. last year a student gave me a stargazer which just bloomed... now we want more... how addctive is it???


glad I found your site.

EAL said...

Looking forward to seeing you Wayne!

lisa said...

Thanks for the informative post! I only have a couple of these lilies, but I'd like to get more.