July 20, 2010


Conca'd Or Lilies fill the air with their intense spicy fragrance.
I can't even imagine the mid-summer garden without fragrant, tall, true lilies ( not daylilies) but lilies. Long lasting lilies (the type grown from bulbs which you must order now, and then plant in the autumn), are rewarding for many reasons, not the least of which is their intense fragrance, unmatched by any flower in the perennial garden. It is deep, rich and creamy wafting through the garden with it's unique almost undefinable blend of scents, be they citrus and cloves, toothpaste or vanilla spice ice cream. Of the three types of garden lilies grown, ( Asiatics, Orientals and Trumpets), the later two, the Oriental lilies and the Trumpet lilies are the later, July and August bloomers, and they are the ones with the intense fragrance.

 Conca d'Or, is a cross between Oriental lilies and Trumpet, and some lily sellers classify these as 'Orienpets" (Oriental -Trumpet), but most simply refer to them as OR lilies. They cost a little more, but they are often stronger, require less staking ( I think), and they seem hardier, standing up to rain and weather better.

The Trumpet or Aurelian lily variety, 'Indian Summer' has stems which really should be staked, but even when allowed to tumble a bit, in a natural way, they can still stand out in the garden. This pure bright greenish yellow of this lily seems like the perfect companion with the brilliant red of  a Crocosmia. The palette reminds me of 1950's lake houses, or 1940's summer fishing camps. Something about the combination of old lead paint colors, I think - imagine vintage lawn furniture, bocce balls and croquet sets. 

This shot of my 'grove' of white 'Casa Blanca' lilies, taken last night just before a thunderstorm hit ( with a tornado warning in our county), look foggy, but actually my lens kept fogging up since my camera came out of an air conditioned room, into the humid air outside. I think lilies just smell best in the thick, warm, humid atmosphere of a late July evening.


  1. I'm curious about which lilies smell like toothpaste.

  2. Beautiful lilies, among my favorite plants. How about the ones pictured in this post http://localecologist.blogspot.com/2010/07/bloom-day-in-beverly-ma.html?

  3. The lilies in your post are Daylilies, not true lilies but Hemerocallis. The variety is a wild species known as H. fulva, which comes in a double and an single form, and is a common roadside naturalized plant in the eastern US. Easy to grow, it is a summer standby. Interested in other varieties? Check out the American Hemerocallis Society web site for new hybrids and inexpensive older ones on their links page. Sometimes people refer to these 'wild' 'lilies' as tiger lilies, but generally, the name tiger lily is associated with Lilium tigrinum, a spotted, true lily that grows from a bulb, often with litle black bulbil's above each leaf, each of which could grow into a new lily plant. Both are easy to grow, and great for people who are looking for carefree gardens that can supply summer color in July.

  4. The 'toothpaste' scented lily, I feel, which I know is a strange description, but trumpet lilies, to me and my nose, have a scent which is mysterious, a blend of both minty, menthol-ness, and a deep rich sweetness. Few tastes accomplish this, minty gum and toothpaste come to mind. I often describe the strange scent of Trumpet Lilies as an aroma more akin to a minty sweet olefactory experience rather than the sickeningly sweet, spicy scent from Oriental lilies ( think - Casa Blanca). Simply said, Trumpet lily scent hits more notes, and is more complex, in my opinion. A wider spectrum, if you will, and more undefinable. But like many sensory experiences, ones taste and smell is personal, and you or others, may experience something completely different. There are plants which I cannot smell at all, that others tell me scent the entire greenhouse, so maybe it's all in my mind!


It's always a good thing to leave a comment!