About lilies

This winter, the garden talk between my daughter and me has been about lilies. She has grown to love these gems of the garden and with good reason. They come in so many colors, sizes and are so fragrant what is not to love? The University of Minnesota has some great information about growing lilies, but it is outshined by the North Star Lily Society which has a wonderful webpage at http://www.northstarlilysociety.com/.

I think if you have any questions about lilies this webpage is the place to go to. They even discuss how to raise lilies from seed. This is something that I would find fascinating! They also discuss how to divide lilies and all the other aspects of lilies. You will have to take your time reading through this website as there is a ton of information. For this column today, I am focusing on their History of Lilies in Minnesota. As many of us farm ladies know, there are lilies that are either orange or yellow that grace many farmsteads and they grow wild there. At our ranch, this is also the case. We didn’t have any lilies that were left growing in our grove but before we sold a farm site, we dug up some of the lilies and moved them to the ranch. They are now growing around a Skyline Locust at the end of one of my flower gardens. These are traditionally hard to kill, long lasting flowers. At the time, they and one other were the only flowers besides the native plants that greeted many of the people who moved into this area. According to the North Star Lily Society Website, the Michigan Lily and the Wood Lily were the first flowers to greet many pioneers as they moved west.

The North Star Lily Society also honors many of those who started to hybridize lilies on their own. These lilies are found in many of our gardens today. These fine gardeners were from Minnesota, with most coming from the southeast corner of Minnesota. These lilies are numerous and if you would like to start collecting them for your garden, here are a few of the variety names to look for: Aethra, Allyson Jane, Andrea Kay, Angel Choir, Black Eyed Cindy, Dots and Dashes, and Netty’s Pride just to name a few.

A few interesting facts about starting lilies from seed. It is easy to get them started from seed but you need to be very patient when waiting for them to be big enough and strong enough to flower. It may take Asiatics and trumpet/Aurelian lilies up to three years before they flower. It sounds like a challenge to me. It takes anywhere from 12 to 25 days for the plants to emerge and then all you will see is something similar to a blade of grass before anything else will happen. Martagon lilies are a different story. Martagon seeds will take up to three months before a bulblet will produce a leaf. So, here again, much patience is needed to get from step A to step B. Time to flowering? About 4-5 years! So, it is something that is worth trying but patience is much needed to give this a go.

For more information on gardening, you can reach me at s.dejaeghere@me.com