double-flowered tiger lily; was: Re: [pbs] Bulb Odds and ends

Jim McKenney
Sun, 11 Jul 2004 18:02:52 PDT
At 10:09 AM 7/11/2004 -0500, Jim Waddick wrote:
>Lilies: Just one questions, I suppose an 'opinion'. Two newly 
>planted  L. lancifolium double, the double flowered tiger lily, are 
>up and growing. The literature suggests the flowers are curious, 
>interesting or hideous? Anyone care to share their view on the 
>grotesqueness of this oddity? Will I relegate it to the compost 
>eventually or will it take over and haunt the garden forever?

First, some background: I'm big on tiger lilies. I don't think I know
another lily enthusiast who likes or even tolerates tiger lilies, but I
think they're great. When the Woodcock & Coutts book Lilies was published
in 1935, it included a full page photograph of tiger lilies in a cozy
garden setting. When the Woodcock & Stearn Lilies was published in 1950,
political correctness - or whatever it was called back in those days -
prevailed, and the tiger lily photo was banished. 

With respect to the double flowered tiger lily: although double-flowered
lilies strike me as grotesque, I think the double-flowered tiger lily is
the best one I've seen. I've grown it and found it to be a lot less
vigorous than the typical forms. In fact, I lost it after a few years. The
flowers as I saw them here were often a bit of a disappointment: they can
be very irregular, some did not open properly, sometimes some of the tepals
do not develop and remained green and leafy.  The result can be a rather
messy flower.
On the other hand, when the flowers develop properly, and are full of well-
developed, well-colored tepals, they are spectacular in a wild, bizarre,
crazy sort of way. This is the sort of plant which, if slipped into a
container planting, will really liven things up while it is in bloom.
People will ask if it is real, or feel it to see if it is plastic. 

Maybe that's why it makes the typical lily enthusiast's skin crawl. 

Also, you can always eat them.

Jim McKenney
Montgomery County, Maryland, USA, USDA zone 7, where the tiger lilies are
just starting to bloom. 

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