Yellow Lily

Carolina Garden: Lilies

Where have all of my bulbs gone? I've planted daffodil, iris, freesia, gladiola, crocus and tulip bulbs, all with mixed success. The one consistent performer from the world of bulbs has been my lilies. I won't bother going into the differences between asiatic and oriental lilies, both have been proven performers. I will save my praise of daylilys and trumpet lilies for another day. For now I want to keep the focus on the asiatic, and oriental varieties.

A mature bulb will send up a single stalk on which 6 or 7 large buds will appear. These buds will blossom to a width of about 6 inches and last 4 or 5 days. Buds will often open in succession with the first blossom fading just as the last ones begin to open. Planted in clusters, these lilies make for a spectacular, although short lived, display.

After the blossoms fade you are faced with the decision of whether you should cut the remaining stalk back or should you let the greenery absorb sunlight which in turn strengthens the bulb for next year. When I cut mine back, I prefer to leave about 10 inches of stalk. At this height the stalks blend in with the foliage of my garden, while still allowing the plant to soak up some sunlight. By mid-summer the stalks will turn brown and be removed completely.

When I first planted my lily bulbs (nearly ten years ago), I planted red, white, yellow and orange. As time has passed, the orange blossoms have dominated. I don't know what happened to the other colors. Did the yellow slowly change to orange? Did the reds fade with time? Did all of the other colors die off? Maybe the conditions in my garden are best suited to orange blooming bulb, I just don't know. I will just enjoy the ones I have.

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