Tuesday, August 16, 2011

LATE blooming lily bulbs, 3 new hybrids

Many professional lily hybridizers in the past 2 decades have focused only on lily bulbs that bloomed early and were of a standard height for the cut flower market.  Lilies that bloomed late were ignored or discarded. As a result the gene pool has suffered from the lack of wide diversity that is important for creating unique varieties for the home garden.  (Varieties are shown above from left to right.) 'Goldfinch', 'Las Cerezas' (The Cherries) and 'Katydid' all bloom late, plus are tall - suitable as an accent plant in your garden. 

Bob recently visited hybridizer, Len Sherwin, in his home state of Wyoming to get a first hard look at the labor of love that Len has imparted for over 35 years to his garden lily selections.  Len worked a shipping season with B&D lilies 20 years ago, so our ties run back for many years.
Reaching heights of up to 6 feet tall, these lovely down facing or Turk's Cap form flowers are bred from Lilium henryi citrinum which is naturally late blooming.  The pink lily is from Lilium pumilium, but instead of being shorter like the species the stems are reliably 4 to 5 feet tall. These hybrids date back many years and have been thoroughly tested for hardiness and resistance to hot summers.  Cooler areas will see the stems a bit taller, 6+ feet in height when mature, so be prepared if you are in a coastal area.

Very suitable for a cottage garden these graceful new cultivars will add interest to your landscape Midsummer when the Oriental and Orienpet (Oriental-Trumpet) hybrids are finishing their flowering. Because of the tall stature you might not wish to grow them in pots, but rather enjoy the flowers gently swaying in the breeze in the open garden.  'Goldfinch' and 'Katydid', both bred from Lilium henryi and Lilium henryi citrinum can tend to grow quite large over time, be sure to allow enough space for bulb expansion.  Lilium pumilum is smaller growing, the bulbs being rarely larger than an unshelled walnut, so mature lily bulbs of 'Las Cerezas' will tend to be smaller as well.

Interested in learning about more wild species lilies?  Click Knowledge Base to see lilies from around the world.

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