Heirloom Bulbs & Garden History  •  So Much More Than New
June 2010
Jun
30
2010

Tiger Lilies and Dahlias in
The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright

Tiger Lilies and Dahlias in <i>The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright</i> – www.OldHouseGardens.com

Beyond his iconic Fallingwater, few of us know anything about the gardens and landscapes that were always an important part of Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision.

Now Derek Fell, the renowned garden photographer, sets out to change all that in The Gardens of Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s a beautiful and informative book, and any gardener with a taste for art, history, or nature will find plenty to like in it.

Be sure to check out the photos of our ‘Bishop of Llandaff’ dahlias and Wright’s favorite flower, tiger lilies, at Taliesin, Wright’s home and studio in rural Wisconsin.

Tiger lilies, which are native to Japan and have been pictured in the country’s art for centuries, may have reminded Wright of the months he lived there during the construction of his landmark Imperial Hotel.

tiger lilies at Taliesin

Dahlias figured in one of the saddest episodes of Wright’s life. While he was away from Taliesin, his live-in companion, Mamah Cheney, and her two young children were murdered in a fire set by an employee gone berserk. The next morning as Wright walked among the smoldering ruins with a Chicago Tribune reporter, “a crushed dahlia flower attracted his attention and seemed to raise his spirits. He picked up the flower and stirred the earth around its roots to give the plant a new lease on life.”

‘Bishop of Llandaff’

Later, Wright “gathered all the flowers he could salvage from the garden and made piles of dinner-plate dahlias, summer phlox, long-stemmed zinnias, and armloads of peppery-scented nasturtiums” to fill Mrs. Cheney’s casket.

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