Friday, July 3, 2009

You Don't Always Get What You Pay For

I knew something was up the minute I saw this nodding orange bloom last week. Unless the bud magically lifted itself skyward, there was no way this was the Wood Lily I purchased for the Woodland Walk last spring.

Sure enough, when the mystery flower bloomed for the first time today it was obvious this was no Wood Lily. Momentary disappointment was swept aside as soon as I realized that this latest garden addition is spectacular.

This lily looks good whether you are coming or going ( or maybe I should say whether you are looking up or down.) The problem is I don't know what it is. Turk's Cap Lily came to mind immediately but upon doing some research I realized it could also be a Michigan Lily. Some websites use the names interchangeably but others note several differences even though they are subtle differences. Trouble is, I'm not good with subtlety. I've looked at this bloom numerous times and am having trouble figuring it out. If anyone has an I.D. please fill me in.

I moved the lilies out of the Woodland Walk this spring to make way for a Fothergilla. The lilies ended up in front of a brand new Ligularia "The Rocket" in the front yard shade garden. The combination is inspired (but like most of my gardening successes, it's really plain old luck.) I love the colour combination and the way the ligularia spikes frame the lily. As these plants mature, the effect is sure to be more and more dramatic.

The Ligularia went in this spring. I had some qualms about planting this water lover. I am terrible at watering so I took some steps to make sure the Ligularia had a fighting chance. First I picked the dampest spot I could find in the front yard garden. I added a huge pile of leaf litter and compost to the Ligularia planting hole. I top-dressed the plant with more leaf litter and compost. Finally I laid down a thick layer of cedar mulch. I have been diligent about watering and lucky for the plants we've had a rainy spring and summer. The Ligularia is showing its appreciation.

In other lily news, Stella D'Oro is blooming her heart out. Stella gets some bad press for being omnipresent in large plantings at malls or government buildings and such. Yes, she's everywhere! Including my backyard.

Stella brightens a small patch of earth right by our parking spot. She'll bloom her pretty blooms right into fall.

The colour of the Ditch Lilies always blows my mind. Their orange is so intense I can almost feel heat rising off of them. They have more than lived up to their reputation for multiplying easily. In fact, they are a little too happy in my garden. I'm sure they are part of the reason the irises did so poorly this spring. They were crowded out. I had planned to divide the lilies in spring but time got away from me. Maybe once they are done blooming.

And last, but not least, my unidentified Asiatic lilies are in bloom. I have several of these scattered through the garden. I say "scattered" deliberately because their placement is the work of squirrels. I planted what I hoped would be a dramatic grouping of bulbs several years ago. Instead, the lilies popped up all over the place courtesy of garden designer squirrels. I have to say they did a nice job of placing this bulb among the Geranium "Rozanne." I wonder if the squirrels would be interested in dividing the ditch lilies?


Helen said...

You're right, the lily might be either of those. Looks like Lilium superbum (the Turk's Cap or American Tiger Lily) is quite variable in flower. I'd love to have one pop up randomly in my garden. Looks great with the Ligularlia.

To me, it's much likelier that you'd get a mix-up with a more common uncommon flower than with the regional Michigan Lily. However, check out the ID details here:

Connie said...

Your lilies are lovely. When I saw that first one, my first thought was Tiger Lily. I planted Stella last year and I can't wait for her to fill in and make more blooms.

Nutty Gnome said...

Gorgeous photos of wonderful flowers - I love lilies, but unfortunately the pollen is poisenous to cats so I can't have any!

guild-rez said...

Ligularia "The Rocket"
grows in my garden as well. Very nice plant and can reseed itself.
Dont't worry.. the Ligularia is easy to grow in a shaded area. Planted between hostas "The Rocket" looks great and should not give you any problems. Mulch is always good for all the plants. Just enjoy..

Heather Bell said...

Good old stellas always add some colour. I've always been a fan of the common ditch lily too. Always giggle when I think of my ex-sister-in-law criticizing them because they were too common in her eyes. Nothing beats that orange.