L. bulbiferum croceum, ORANGE OR FIRE LILY, 1629        
“The pride of many a cottage garden,” this classic “multiplies rapidly and lasts well even in completely neglected gardens” (Complete Book of Lilies, 1961). A European wildflower, it appeared in the earliest herbals, was painted by the Dutch masters, and was offered in U.S. catalogs by 1830. In Germany it’s known as “fire lily,” and in Northern Ireland its rich orange color has made it a special favorite. Up-facing, cupped, mid-summer flowers. 3-4’, zones 4a-7b(9bWC), Holland. Last offered in 2003. We lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock of this widely mis-labeled lily.
L. canadense var. coccineum/rubrum, RED MEADOW LILY, 1629        
Rare and prized, the red form of our native “spotted Canada martagon” is one of the most spectacular and graceful wild lilies, its nodding bells ranging in color from brick red to almost scarlet. Best in moist, acid soils and filtered sun, it’s highly sought-after by eager collectors. 4-5’, zones 5a-7b(9bWC). Superb Oregon-grown bulbs! Last offered in 2003. Unfortunately our grower passed away and we haven’t been able to locate another source.
L. speciosum rubrum, RUBRUM LILY, 1830        
Is this what heaven smells like? It’s my favorite floral fragrance — lush, complex, and never too much. ‘Rubrum’ is achingly beautiful, too, with pink and white petals “all rugged with rubies and garnets, and sparkling with crystal points,” to quote the RHS’s John Lindley soon after it arrived from Japan. My wife Jane and I liked it so much we included it in our wedding 30 happy years ago. Wonderfully late blooming, 4-5 feet, zones 5a-7b(9bWC), from Holland. Last offered in 2012. ‘Rubrum’ is now commercially extinct in the Netherlands, and bulbs offered by mainstream sources are L. speciosum ‘Uchida’.
SILVER SUNBURST, 1959        
Magnificently tough and healthy, this statuesque beauty is topped by big, extra-fragrant, wide open, bell-like flowers with long, lovely petals that curl back dramatically from a heart full of sunshine. Virus-free, seed-grown bulbs. Trumpet, 5-6 feet, mid-to-late summer, zones 5a-8b(10bWC), from Oregon. Last offered in 2004. We lost our grower and haven’t found another who offers authentic stock.
L. speciosum album, SPECIOSUM ALBUM, 1830        
‘Casa Blanca’ is a fine lily, but we like this wild ancestor of it even better. Exquisitely fragrant, its flowers are more graceful, less huge, with showier, jade-green nectaries that enhance its sparkling whiteness. Like L. speciosum rubrum it’s a form of the variable “Japan lily” which “commanded extravagant prices” (Breck, 1851) when it was first imported and became one of the Victorian era’s most popular flowers. Its late bloom extends the lily season. 4-5 feet, zones 5a-7b(9WC), from Holland. Last offered in 2012. ‘speciosum album’ is now commercially extinct in the Netherlands.
Page 2 of Lilies: Lost?
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