Saturday, June 9, 2012

Look at the Umbel on that Lily!

'L. Regale'
L. Regale
Lilium Regale is a trumpet flowered lily, whose flowers form a 'highly scented' umbel at the top of its 4 to 5 foot sturdy stems. Of course the height of the stems and the number of flowers depends on the amount of humus and fertility in your soil. The Regale Lilum was the first species Lilium I included in my garden.  With very little care, it's been a hardy addition that provides a sweet smell and has an elegant appearance.

This cultivar is classified as a Species Lilium, as it was discovered by Ernest Henry Wilson during 1903 in west Szechuan, along the Min River, in China. He revisited the site in 1908 to collect more bulbs, but most of them rotted while en route back to the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. In 1910 he returned to the Min valley, but this time his leg was crushed during an avalanche of boulders as he was carried along the trail in his sedan chair. After setting his leg with the tripod of his camera, it took him three days to make it back to civilization. Thereafter he walked with what he called his "lily limp". It was this third shipment of bulbs that successfully introduced the Regale Lily into cultivation in the United States.

Sometimes species lilies can be temperamental and slow to adapt to conditions outside of their native environment.  But the Regale Lily has adapted to our growing conditions, is readily available from bulb growers, and tends to provide a nice show of blooms each year.

Try growing an Heirloom Lily in your garden!


--By Lynn Slackman

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