Thursday, June 11, 2009

In the Garden... Lilies



The rains have made the garden fantastic with exception of rampant wood louse (rolly-pollies) and slugs. It is said that a coaster of beer will call to the slugs and promptly kill them. It must be noted as well that many of the wood louse have evolved from battleship gray to a lovely hue of sapphire blue… eating Miracle Grow perhaps? The garden is full of anomalies if one makes note of them.
The Queen of early summer, the lovely Lily, has begun her entrance at the garden party. Some are blooming as others have buds that are swelling; they will be in full and glorious bloom in several weeks. The varieties available now are truly spectacular and come in ranges of color and form that far exceed the traditional white Easter lily of your Grandmother’s garden. Hybridization has given us a memorable gift with the improvements. The lily is of the largest and most important plant families, dating back as far as botanical recordings. Of the 2,000 species, there are 12 which are native to North America. The Meadow Lily, the Southern Red Lily, the Leopard Lily, the Wood Lily, and Sierra Lily all grow within the bounds of our nation in shaded woodland settings. The trumpet-shaped blooms made up of six parts, are held upright on sturdy stems. The roots of the lily spread from the central bulb and form new bulbs, making them a perfect naturalized species if allowed enough room to travel.
The Chinese and Japanese lilies have spectacular form and scent and bring elegance to the early summer garden. The flowers come in a full spectrum of color and shape, some with nodding heads, some upright, and others with the lovely turkscap form of recurving leaves. Among these jewels are the Stargazer, Amber Gold, Black Magic and the lovely L. martagon with its back-curved pinkish blooms. Lilies make lovely cut flowers in an arrangement and will fill the room with their spicy aroma.
The plants which we call water Lilies are not of the lily family at all, but are of a genus unto themselves. They too are in full bloom in water gardens everywhere. They project a serene classic beauty with their deep green and glossy plate-like foliage and ethereal blossoms floating on the water. Their leaves provide shelter for fish and help reduce the spread of algae in the pond. Watching and waiting for the bloom of water lilies to open is always exciting and thrilling for the gardener who has cultivated these lovely plants.
Summer appears to have arrived, ushered in this week following the most lovely spring in ages.