Monday, February 26, 2018

February 27, 2018 - Newsletter

Are you having a hard time choosing which lilies "go together"?  Read on for helpful hints when combining lilies. There are no hard and fast rules, however some guidelines do make it easier.

Lilium regale (Species lily)

Even if your style is just to plant everything together and hope for the best, simply looking for a common trait between varieties - such as large flowers, accent colors in one that matches the main color in another, how the flowers are held on the stem (up-facing, outfacing or pendant) - goes a long way in creating a expert theme.

'Pink Palace' (Orienpet)

Do you desire a succession of flowers in a certain color? 
Overlapping bloom times make it easy to showcase one lily after another in the garden, to draw the eye from one planting to another. Mercifully, differing types and colors of lilies blend pretty well with one another on their own, however there are some loosely held "rules" to increase your viewing pleasure.

Our farm, far from being a "magazine" landscape, has a changing color palette. The first colors in spring are warm gold, soft orange, and red-orange deciduous Azaleas and dark red, white, and coral-colored Rhododendrons. (No daffodils here - when you have Dandelions, who needs more yellow in spring?) 

In July, light pastel, white, apricot, and orange Trumpets add a heady aroma in the garden; a single stem on a still day will announce its presence even when your eyes are closed. Purebred Asiatics, without fragrance, bloom Late May to June and and are favored as a cut flower indoors. Scented Asiatics (LA hybrids) flourish in June/July, overlapping the trumpets and also are terrific in vases, but sensitive individuals may still find them too strong indoors.


Tufted Roman Geese under Rose of Sharon
As our rains diminish and the weather warms, solid white, pink, raspberry, and two-tone tinted Orienpets and Orientals take center stage. Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) in blue, lavender, rose, and light pink begin flowering with the last of the Oriental lilies and continue into fall when Blueberries, Aronia, Maples, and Euonymus begin strutting their fall colors.

'Golden Eye' Rose opens scarlet, matures soft rose-red
Throughout summer, carefully placed 'Golden Eye' roses, with strong canes and intense thorns, provide bright red-orange color and bullet-proof glossy green foliage - which does not require spraying fungicide in our damp, Northwestern climate. In addition to being "goose and duck resistant" when planted among the fruit trees, this cultivar adds color to otherwise uninteresting tree trunks before the apples and plums begin to color up and ripen.

Natural cement paving stones and crushed basalt gravel, white flowered perennials, burgundy edged leaves on Azaleas and 'Hollywood' Plum trees, plus dark purple-red Coral Bells (Huercha) help tie everything together. Evergreen shrubs and trees add backdrop to the change of colors and seasons, and encourage the eye to wonder at the hidden vistas behind the greenery.

True lilies (Lilium) come in all shades of colors from white to almost black and every shade in between - except the color blue. Most established lilies stay in bloom for 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the summer temperature and the number of flowers on the stem. Older lily bulbs will have more flowers and perhaps grow become taller than you expect. Hot summers will cause the lilies to mature faster on shorter stems; cooler temperatures will extend the bloom, sometimes with a 10 day variance (by date) from year to year, based on weather.

New lily bulb acquisitions are generally shorter the first summer after planting and bloom later than the same variety already present in your garden for several years. There are 7-foot tall 'Pink Palace' Orienpets in full sun in our front garden, that have been in place for about 5 years (see photo at top of email).  The same variety, newly planted, usually average 3 to 4 feet tall the first season. However, 2 years later they will do a marvelous job of "catching up" and begin to tower over the Exbury Azaleas.


Matching Accent Colors (Shown left to right - 'Sweet Zanica', 'Tribal Dance', 'Night Rider') Picking a color theme doesn't mean that the lilies all have to be the same exact color. If you are using heavily spotted flowers, choose a more somber or solid color to match just a portion of the other cultivar. The deep color of 'Night Rider' matches the flower color deep within the petals of 'Tribal Dance'. Light colors tend to brighten up all plantings when there are multiple hues and color families, because white and pastel becomes provides contrast to show off intense shades.

Warm Colors in the Garden (Shown left to right, 'Red Morning', 'African Queen', 'Elusive') Warm shades of red, orange, and cream blend very well with one another, just think of the red blush on a ripe peach, delectable in color as well as taste! Peachy cream edges, such as on 'Red Morning' or the peach interior stripe of 'Elusive' compliment the peachy-orange blend in 'African Queen', plus its outer color of reddish brown adds another contrast. You don't need to plant them close together - to be viewed as a whole, space 5 or 6 feet apart and let the eye wander over your garden for the most dramatic effect.

How to use Large Flowered Lilies (Shown from left to right, 'Conca d'Or', 'Gizmo', 'Kushi Maya') When mixing larger sized flowers in the garden, it helps to have the blooms either all "facing" outward and down - or be all strictly up-facing (pointed upwards the sky). The eye is automatically drawn to the size of the larger lilies and smaller lily flowers tend to be not noticed. A single clump of 3 to 5 stems of the same variety makes a stunning accent among shorter growing perennials.

Light Colors Provide Contrast (Shown left to right, 'Eyeliner', 'Pink Snowflake', 'Casablanca') None of these will usually overlap in my garden, so from late June to August, a different white lily is blooming. 'Pink Snowflake' has pink buds and outside ribs, but opens sparkling white. Pale tints are your transition colors, equally at home with dark reds and light pinks, apricots and oranges. They make it easy to move the eye from one section of garden to another, plus make the darker shaded lilies appear more intense. Light shades are important under trees or where there is a lower light level, whereas more bold colors tend to disappear into the background. 

Dianna likes spike-like stems of Culver's Root (Veronicastrum virginicum) in the background to add a lofty texture, because it is a tough plant that forms a strong enough crown that even busy Chickens, scratching the soil while looking for tasty tidbits, do no harm. The yellow lilies are 'Belladonna', which are no longer available, but have been replaced with Tollo, another strong growing Orienpet.

(Shown from left to right, 'Guardia', 'Beloncia', 'Sorbonne') Different shades of pink can become a little overwhelming to the senses, so experiment with choosing varieties that go into the raspberry tone like 'Guardia' or have a white edge like 'Sorbonne'. The exception would be if you plant groups of all the same variety in a large garden that will be viewed from a distance. 

To view all lilies mentioned in this posting, please click February 27, 2018 Newsletter and you will be sent to the corresponding page on our website. Because we are on a 3 to 5 year rotation for many cultivars, availability is not guaranteed past the spring 2018 shipping season. Did you not receive this Newsletter? Click here to sign up new or to correct your email information.