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.