First Lily Blooms


Lilium ‘Buff Pixie’ is the first of that genus to bloom here every year. It is time once again. My how it flies by, the time that is.


In fact this topic was one of our early posts when the blogging began. As each plant bloomed, a story was written to accompany the images. This shot from that post, click here-First Lilium And Other Tidbits to view it, reveals only three buds, update, make that four buds on the stalk in 2008. (The photos on the old blogger Faire Garden posts can be enlarged by clicking as can the first few months of WordPress Fairegarden shots before we began shrinking the size in early 2009). The opening photo shows a dozen buds for 2010, if the counting is correct.


Reading the old post again it seems clear that the first writing about a plant is better than later follow ups. Whether about Hellebores, Azaleas or muhly grass, the best words and thoughts come to mind once and only once. Afterwards it is a mere rehash.


All the interesting background bits have been used already, explaining the providence of the plant and personal asides about it. At least with each passing year there seem to be more blooms. It was hoped that there could be a shot of them all open at once for a bouquet appearance.


But it was not to be. High, near ninety degrees Fahrenheit temperatures sped up the process. The earliest to open faded and shriveled before they all could bloom together. Still, Buff Pixie is a wonderful splash of color in the sea of green daylily foliage before the next phase of the late spring to early summer flowering.


Whilst Buff is always the first, this red asiatic from a mixed bag is always second to open here.


It opened in the same way as Buff, the first blooms shriveling before the later ones opened. I guess that is just the way of it. The red was moved from the original planting spot on the daylily hill to join the other dark hued lilies that reside in the black garden. Reds and oranges make fine companions to the dark leaves of a purple leaf peach tree and Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Summer Wine’ among others.


More lilies are added each year for we so love the punch of color and vertical accent they provide in addition to their being nearly foolproof. They are planted in the fall or spring as bulbs and will return year after year with larger stalks and more flowers. Babies can be gathered from the base as well. See this post-How To-Lily Bulblets to learn more about that.


No name for this one, but it is most likely an asiatic due to time of bloom and lack of fragrance. It came from a large clump at daughter Semi’s garden, a shovelful of bulblets and even a daylily root freebie. The daylily has yet to open so the identity of it will be a surprise as was the colorway of this lily, the third in the bloom succession. We like surprises.


Not a true lily but with the common name of foxtail lily, Eremurus roots have been planted here three different times.


This batch of three planted in the fall of 2009, a mixture of Ruiter hybrids, is the first time ever that a bloom has appeared. Research showed that excellent drainage was a must. It was figured that we had that all over with the steep slope that is our entire property, but success only came when the roots were planted in the large raised box planter. Parsley in flower and some kind of squash share the space with the Eremurus.


It was worth the continued tenacious effort for these blooms are magnificent.


The most numerous type of Liliums at the Fairegarden, Longiflorum asiatic L. ‘Royal Fantasy’ will be next up to the batter’s plate. Their show should be a grand slam home run out of the park. It begins. Oh boy!

Frances

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29 Responses to First Lily Blooms

  1. sequoiagardens says:

    What joy! I think I must get my act together. Lilies will do well for me too. I just need to focus on them at the right time… My mom used to grow them beautifully in Johannesburg. Perhaps the planned Mothers’ Garden is the place they should go – with roses and lavender against hedges, flanking a central path…

    Thanks Jack. Roses, lavender and lilies would make a perfect match. There is always room for more of them too. Even after the bloom period, I appreciate the vertical accent that the stalks add to the scene. Like sentinels overlooking their kingdom. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  2. gardeningasylum says:

    Hi Frances, I finally got my foxtail to bloom after moving it out to the dry sun of the sidewalk strip bed – I’m thinking they need excellent drainage and lots of sun? Yours is a beauty! My gloves are covered with lily beetle body parts – nice to know the endless picking will be rewarded πŸ™‚

    Hi Cyndy, hooray for your Eremurus! What a difficult plant to grow, but so worth the effort. I am still not sure what the magic elixer was to get blooms, but will keep at it to get them all to bloom someday. Some combination of sun, drainage and perhaps a very loose soil rather than clay might be the ticket. So sorry about the beetles, but good for you giving them the death squeeze! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  3. lotusleaf says:

    The Eremurus are magnificent! I wonder why I could never grow Asiatic lilies although I live in Asia!

    Thanks Lotusleaf. Hmmm, no asiatic lilies? Maybe not enough, or any chill period? They need a cold winter, I believe?
    Frances

  4. I’ve always been a lily lover! Ours aren’t open yet, save for some reds and a couple yellow asiatics. Many of the asiatics are still just beginning to form buds. But they go fast, so it won’t be long.

    I’ve enjoyed reading about your England trip, Frances! What fun you and Gail had together! Mom and I would love to do that!

    Hi Kylee, thanks for stopping by and congrats on the big sweep of awards recently, well deserved! You and your mom would absolutely fall in love with England, the people and the gardens. Do go if you can! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  5. Liisa says:

    Frances,
    Such beautiful blooms drenched in color. The foxtail lilies remain one of my favorites. While living in the Pacific Northwest, I recall driving by a field that was completely lit up by these beauties. Obviously a labor of love for someone, and quite a sight to see. I do not have any lilies blooming as of yet, but so look forward to the flowers.

    Hi Liisa, thanks. A whole field of Eremurus, almost too much for my brain to wrap itself around! Just getting one to bloom is considered a near miracle. I wonder what the secret is? Lily buds hold so much promise and when the color begins to show, excitement builds. Ahhhh. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  6. Gail says:

    Dear Frances, I adore your lilies~The red ones are gorgeous and each year I resolve to plant more~some get nibbled away by the bunnies! The foxtail lily macro is fantastic~The buds look like someone applied eyeliner…The effect is stunning. So worth the effort to have them! I cut a few branches off a small tree and the light increased dramatically. The elm may get cut down after all~Light would make the lilies happy! xxxgail PS Since I added linkedin I am reminded of those earlier much better written posts!

    Hi Gail, thanks. There can be no such thing as too many lilies. The Eremurus has been a prima donna, but finally seeing the bloom, well, whatever it takes! You already know how I feel about your trees, so will remain silent, for a change! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  7. Jenny B says:

    So Beautiful. Each photo, I said was my favorite. It’s hard to pick favorites when they are all so gorgeous. Like children, you love each one for their individual charms. You are right about how striking they are in the landscape. I loved what you said about them being sentenials overlooking their kingdom. You do have a way with words Ms. Frances! Happy Memorial Day.

    Hi Jenny, thanks so much, you are too kind. No need to pick a favorite of these, although Royal Fantasy would win by sheer numbers, one of the few times all bulbs were planted relatively close together, even if in a straight soldier line along the edge of the daylily bed. Happy Memorial Day to you as well. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  8. Nell Jean says:

    Your lilies are lovely. The best thing about lilies is that following the LAs and Asiatics are the Orientals and Trumpets extending the season. No, wait. The best thing is the range of colors… or is it that they lend height to beds…? The mulitplication factor is a plus as well.

    Hi Nell Jean, thanks. You are so right about the season extending with the different types. We have tried to have many of each, the taller later Chinese Trumpets added in recent years. Now we are short on the Asiatics, must get more! The height is terrific and they way they can grow right up through leafy neighbors is another factor in their favor. They simply have it all! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  9. Phillip says:

    I always enjoy seeing your lilies. I don’t have any blooming yet except for an asiatic one.

    Hi Phillip, thanks. The asiatics are always first, we need more of them, both of us! They are cheap and easy, what’s not to love? HA πŸ™‚
    Frances

  10. Rose says:

    ‘Buff Pixie’ may be appreciated because it’s the first, but it’s a showstopper no matter when it blooms! I have one new Asiatic lily in bud right now; I bought it at the end of the season sale last fall, so I’m curious what it looks like. I do hope the blooms don’t shrivel too quickly–it’s been so hot here, too.

    You are right, Rose, the Buff color is so welcome right now in the transition from spring to summer with so much green foliage. One of the best things about the Asiatics is that they are so widely available and all colors are wonderful. No need to spend a lot to get a garden full of brightness. Here’s to yours being splendid! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  11. Catherine says:

    They are all very pretty! I don’t have too many Asiatic, mostly Orientals. Our lilies still seem to have awhile to bloom. The darn squirrels stole several of my new bulbs too.
    The foxtail lilies are really cool, I’d love to find a spot for them sometime.

    Thanks Catherine. I am the same with the Asiatics, although the LA’s are well represented. They have the fragrance that the straight asiatics lack too but the early bloom that the orientals lack. I do love them all, but this year, the Chinese trumpets in the knot garden are more than seven feet tall and loaded with buds. Can’t wait to see them. Boo to the devil squirrels, I do have to use chickenwire over the soil the first year to protect them. The Eremurus are wonderful, no matter standing on one’s head to get them going. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  12. I want you to know how much I appreciate all the lessons you teach me. I hate it when I have to learn gardening things the hard way. That is, by killing plants. You have saved the lives of many of my flowers. Thanks

    Oh you are so sweet for saying that, Valerie, thank you! One of the reasons I began blogging was to share any tidbits that have been picked up through years of murdering many many many plants. The internet is an amazing gardening tool. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  13. Greetings from a fellow lily-lover. I divided mine last fall, and am fearful of a poor showing by the Casa Blancas (my faves), but the bright red border lilies are going great guns. I do hope the orientals will recover from my rough treatment by next year. Thanks for sharing yours!

    Hi Ricki, thanks and glad to hear it! Sometimes it will take a year or two for moved or divided lilies to get back to full strength. I love the Casa Blancas as well, have three plantings of them and hope that over the years they increase as advertised. I love that pure white and the fragrance is heavenly! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  14. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I just love lilies. I have a few and most are of the red variety. The tallest is a pink one with a yellow center. It is such fun to see that they multiply every year. Just amazing flowers. Such structure. I really like yours. You are right about this heat making things not bloom as long as usual.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Glad to hear that your lilies are giving you so much pleasure. What a wonderful plant. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  15. Joanne says:

    Well if the words are a rehash although they seem fine to me, the photos are certainly not. They are beautiful and makes me look forward to my lillies flowering if only I can keep on beetle watch a bit better.

    Thanks Joanne, you are too kind. The UK bloggers complained of the lily beetle and some northern US gardeners seem to have them as well. If we do, I am not seeing them, but don’t want to jinx it!
    Frances

  16. Tatyana says:

    Fantastic show, Frances! Last year, I checked all our local nurseries for Eremurus bungei, but never found it. Looking at yours, I want it, again!

    Thanks Tatyana. I saw that Eremurus you are looking for in the Van Engelen online catalog. You might want to check it out! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  17. Incredible lilies! Good to hear your report on eremus. I’ve been so close to trying those, but haven’t because I’d heard they’re a bit persnickety. Glad to see your fabulous blooms. Summer sure is lovely!

    Hi Cameron, thanks. Persnickety is appropriate, but those blooms are just too wonderful. Hooray for summer is right! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  18. Barbarapc says:

    Frances, you are blessed with a lily-beetle free garden – found my first today munching away. I’ve been looking at my photos from the last 4 years and thinking – this is all seeming a bit repetitious. Not that it will be any consolation, but I don’t find things rehash-ey at all here. There’s something very special about feeling that I’m simultaneously experiencing the life cycle of these wonderful gardens in Tennessee and around the world while sitting in the middle of my own garden.

    Hi Barbara, thanks for the nice support. We do have various insects galore here, sucking type punctures in many leaves. If we have the lily beetle, my poor vision is not seeing it, sounds like something I don’t want to see either! Life cycle, I love that thought! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  19. Ooh, love the red Asiatic! Also the foxtail lilies. I ordered 3 from High Country Gardens and none has come up. I know they bloom for another gardener here in MI, so I had high hopes. (I thought my soil is well drained where I planted them, but maybe it isn’t.) They were just so striking at Denver Bot, I had to have some! Can’t wait to see yours open all the way.

    Thanks Monica. The first time I ordered Eremurus, nothing came up. The second time, one came up but never bloomed in three years. This time all came up, one is very tiny and one out of three bloomed. I consider that a success. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  20. Lola says:

    I have a few lilies in bud. Double Talk, the ones that we inherited, something candy [slipped my mind at present}. I would like to add more as they are reliable & low maintenance. I intend to transplant some of the ones we inherited to my new Back Corner Garden {if I can ever get it finished}.

    That’s great, Lola. Lilies are just so wonderful, large and tall and easy. Need more. Of course. πŸ™‚
    Frances

    • Ibrahim says:

      Thanks for the welcome πŸ™‚

      You are correct about the Lillies in the pot. Chilling period ?! I am new to gardening really so not sure what you mean.

      I made a post on my blog so would appreciate any feed back advice pls if you care to ofc πŸ™‚

      http://megardenlover.blogspot.com/2010/05/lily-propagation-bulblets-bulbils.html

      I’ve also added a link to your amazing Lillies photos.

      http://megardenlover.blogspot.com/2010/06/some-amazing-lily-photography.html

      would love to put one of your photos in that post & credit you for it ofc if that’s ok.

      All the best & thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

      Hi Ibrahim. I don’t know if lilies need a chill period like tulips or daffodils do. It seems from a quick google search that they need some chilling during the winter, 400 hours was mentioned, but they do not require below freezing temps. I would do some research to find out exactly what you need to do. You will have new Casa Blancas in a couple of years from those bulblets. You may use a photo of mine as long as credit is given with a link to my blog as you have done already. Thank you for asking permission and good luck with your move and gardening.
      Frances

      • Ibrahim says:

        Thanks again Frances. You are the best. I knew it in my heart the moment I saw those Lily pictures πŸ™‚

        All the best.

  21. Ibrahim says:

    Fantastic photos of the Lillies.
    My favourite Lillium is the Cultivar Casablanca. Love it’s scent.

    I live in a zone 11 area which makes it hard to grow lilies but I am trying though πŸ™‚

    Keep up the good work & all the best.

    Hi Ibrahim, thanks and welcome. I love Casa Blanca as well, have a few that have only been in the ground a couple of years so they are not established quite yet. I am surprised you can grow lilies, but maybe in a container with some chill period? I do appreciate your visits. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  22. Royal fantasy sounds like it might be the theme of an imminent post.

    Love the Eremurus, you must be pleased they’re up and into flower

    It’s a great name, isn’t it, Rob? Lots of ideas bubbling up…. As for the Eremurus, out of nine roots planted, one blooming is not very good percentage, but we consider it a success that ANY bloomed. Maybe we just needed to find the right spot for them.
    Frances

  23. Oh great! Another year has come and gone and I haven’t put in any foxtail lilies. 😦 Yours are wonderful.

    Thanks Donna. You can order them right now from Van Engelen, they will be shipped at the proper planting time. I might get some more since we finally got a bloom. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  24. joey says:

    Always a favorite … Happy June!

    Thanks Joey, and a very happy June to you as well. A most wonderful month! πŸ™‚
    Frances

  25. DeWayne says:

    Those are some very beautiful lily pictures! I just love gardening pictures and you’ve got some real gems here!

    Thanks DeWayne and welcome. Glad you liked the images here. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  26. kimberly says:

    Frances, I really enjoyed this posteth! πŸ™‚ Your garden and flying flowers are beautiful!

    Hi Kimberly, thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed this bit of sillineth. πŸ™‚
    Frances

  27. Gardening says:

    Hello Frances,
    I can Imagine how your garden is looking with the presence of those pretty Lilies. They all are fabulous, but the foxtail lilies have stunning beauty.

    Hi Albert, thanks and welcome. While I also love the lilies and what they add to the garden, the Eremurus were a delight. Especially since this is the first ever blooms in many years of trying to grow them. πŸ™‚
    Frances

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