It's the Plants, Darling

The Sophisticate

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I love my city garden, mainly because of the city-like plants in it, such as the lily pictured here, Scheherazade.  A Judith Freeman Oriental/Trumpet hybrid, she has the most beautiful and sophisticated color combination: a pale apricot and a dark maroon.

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She is the tallest lily in my yard, at least 8 feet. She is towering over my fence in this photo and giving you a glimpse of the neighbor's ladder.

This year, her third year in the ground, her stalks were so thick that I left some of the tallest ones un-staked. So far, no collapse off the candelabra–utterly amazing, since every other lily in my garden keels over as soon as it hits three feet.

When it comes to these Orienpet hybrids, I've been a reactionary.  Oriental lilies and trumpet lilies are so beautiful as they are, why mess with perfection?  I'm not sure that I like the thick petals of some of these hybrids. And some of them have half-hearted trumpet shapes that I find ugly. 

But Scheherazade justifies the whole idea.

The mystery in my yard is how I wound up with one young plant of Scheherazade outside her bed. It must be squirrel transport of a piece of a bulb rather than self-seeding, because as a hybrid, she wouldn't come true from seed.

Posted by on July 29, 2009 at 1:23 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling.
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10 responses to “The Sophisticate”

  1. greg draiss says:

    An 8 Ft. lily?

    Gorgeous to say the least.

    I agree with the city look of gardens. I always thought the plant was the show. But how much better the plant is in good surroundings. I love coleus. I have seven in 6 inch pots on my front porch. I placed them on a plastic green table and they looked just okay. Last night I took some old lumber lying around and built a crude table. What a difference the table made in showing off the plants!

    The weathered wood table top added “rustic elegance” to a classic garden plant.

    The TROLL

  2. I need one of those botanical voice dictionaries so that I can pronounce this lovely thing of beauty.
    Scheh – er – a – zade ?

  3. Michele Owens says:

    Michelle D., as in the heroine of the “Thousand and One Nights.”

  4. judybusy says:

    I have a shorter lily I bought under the name of ‘Black Beauty’ that looks just like this. It’s also got a very subtle, elusive scent.

    However, I think it’s shorter than ever before. The bulbs have been in the same spot for about 10 years. Should I dig up and divide? Add compost? Any thoughts would be appreciated!

  5. Michele Owens says:

    Judy, I have Black Beauty, too. It is similar, but a little wilder-looking and more blue-maroon than brown-maroon.

    My lilies are not quite as tall as normal this year, either. I’m chalking it up to endless rain.

    I’ve never dug up lilies for the express purpose of dividing them, but some of my clumps are getting so dense, I am definitely thinking about it.

  6. Dottie Baltz says:

    That lily is stunning!

  7. judybusy says:

    Michele, here in Minneapolis, it’s been endless drought. I think we’re running 6-7 inches behind average. So maybe the lilies suffer from the Goldilocks syndrome: it has to be just right!

  8. Deirdre says:

    I agree with you about most oriental/trumpet hybrids. the shape can be odd. I put in Scheherazade this year. I got her half price in June, so she barely out of the ground. I hope mine turn out as pretty as yours.

  9. Frances says:

    I have Black Beauty as well and feel they look similar in stature and form. As for that errant plant outside the bed, I have heard, from Dave at The Home Garden, listed on your sidebar, that liliums will grow new bulbs from leaf cuttings. I have not tried this myself, but it might explain your new baby plant, a leaf fell to earth and stuck in the ground.

    Frances

  10. commonweeder says:

    I have Black Beauty too and I love it. It might be a little shorter than usual. We certainly have had the rainiest July in history. A dependable bloomer though.

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