Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 Volunteer Dedication Award

Lynn Slackman with awards vase
Every year the Missouri Botanical Garden honors it's volunteers with a nice reception and awards event.  This year the Dedication Award was given to Lynn Slackman, past President of the Greater St Louis Daffodil Society, current Marketing/PR Chairperson for the American Daffodil Society, and active member of the Mid America Regional Lily Society.

The Dedication Award is bestowed to a volunteer who comes in on a regular basis each week and is conscientious about the tasks performed, accepting assignments that are not major undertakings but are essential to the program.

The following write-up was read by Lynn's horticulture supervisors, Sophia Warsh and Sara Murphy, at the awards ceremony;
Lynn volunteers in the North Gardens and is also a Garden Docent.  She has been a Garden volunteer for 18 years.  In the Bulb Gardens, Lynn has worked specifically on the annual labeling of the Lilium collection.  Because of her in-depth knowledge of lilies, she is one of the only volunteers who can assist in this capacity.  She has also helped with transplanting lilies and has introduced new techniques for staking lilies and other bulbs.  Lynn is thoughtful and inquisitive and has been especially supportive of some of the new collections development projects that demand a lot of prep work before the results are apparent.  She is the official Chair for the 2016 World Daffodil Convention that will take place in St. Louis.  Lynn's wide-ranging activities make her a great Garden ambassador.

Lynn was surprised and honored to receive this prestigious award, and looks forward to continuing her volunteer efforts at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Best Lilies for St. Louis

It’s important to purchase lilies known to thrive in your area. St. Louis has hot, humid summers that are sometimes brutal. Not all lilies tolerate this heat. Fortunately, there are many kinds that will grow well in St. Louis’ climate! These varieties are strong growers in St. Louis:
Lilium 'Royal Sunset'

Royal Sunset – a Longiflorum-Asiatic hybrid that begins blooming in mid June. It has many worthy qualities;
o  Thrives in full sun and good soil, increasing each year
o  Beautiful, complex colors of orange tipped peach flowers
o  10+ flowers per stem on handsome dark green foliage

Golden Splendor – Trumpet lily. Blooms in late June. Characteristics are;
o  Tall, striking accent planet, easy to grow
o  Bell shaped flowers of deep yellow

Scheherazade – Oriental-Trumpet lily, blooms in early July;
o  Red flowers with cream edges
o  Very tall, 6’ – 7’ when mature
o  Multiplies rapidly

Black Beauty – Oriental-Trumpet lily;
o  Small, deep red flowers with white edges, flowers face downward
o  Tall growth habit, 6’+ in good growing conditions
o  Late July bloomer

Lilium 'Black Beauty'

Most sources of lily bulbs carry these wonderful varieties among hundreds of lily choices. If you are looking for a reliable lily to grace your garden each year, you can’t go wrong with these.

--by Kim Peterson 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Better Than Stargazer

Everyone loves Stargazer lilies with their showy red and white flowers that stand out on deep green stalks. And their fragrance is sublime! One Stargazer lily will perfume an entire house.

But Stargazer and other Oriental lilies do not thrive in hot St. Louis gardens. Their favored climate is their native Chinese mountains where bright sunshine and cool weather dominates. In our hot, humid summer climate, they die out quickly.

Lilium 'Anastasia'
Lily breeders have chosen genes from Stargazer and other Oriental lilies to use in their breeding programs, capturing some of our favorite characteristics. Their hybrid lilies, Oriental-Trumpets, have the best of both lily divisions. Trumpet lilies tolerate and even thrive in St. Louis summers, returning to bloom year after year. This growth characteristic, combined with the color and fragrance of Oriental lilies, results in plants that are better than Stargazers for St. Louis gardens.

Varieties of Oriental-Trumpets (called Orienpets or OT’s in the lily trade) that have the wonderful red & white colors as well as noticeable fragrance are:

Anastasia –always at the top of the Popularity Poll of the North American Lily Society, this OT lily has big open flowers made up of white petals with red stripes. Reliable in St. Louis, it grows to 5’ tall, blooming in July.

Lilium 'Flashpoint'
Flashpoint – a recent introduction to the OT group, this strong lily has been called “Stargazer on steroids!” Red and white flowers with strong scent bloom in July. Compact growth habit, sturdy stalks grow to 3’ to 4’ tall. A must have in any St. Louis garden.

Silk Road - Hall of Fame lily that grows reliably year after year. Up to 6’ tall in excellent growing conditions. White flowers with red throats demonstrate its Oriental heritage.  

While Stargazer lilies are great flowers, leave their growing to greenhouse experts or enjoy them as annuals with no expectation that they will thrive in upcoming years. Instead, St. Louis gardeners should look to wonderful OT lilies for perennial bloom.

--by Kim Peterson 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Exotic Dark Lilies

Dark plants have become popular in gardens. They are exotic and striking, providing great visual interest. Dark plants can be nearly black, but usually they are a form of very dark purple or deep red. When they are paired with companion plants in complimentary colors they make a showy grouping.

Lily breeders have produced dark cultivars of lilium as part of this trend. Look for these wonderful black cultivars and consider planting them in the pairings suggested below. All of these lilies require at least 6 hours of sun.

Dimension – Asiatic lily with wide, very dark purple petals, nearly black. While not as reliable as some Asiatic lilies, this handsome lily is the darkest lily on the market and is worth cultivating for that color! Match it up with golden garden plants such as golden spirea or Hakonochloa 'All Gold'

Night Flyer Lilium
Lilium 'Night Flyer'

Night Flyer– a recent introduction to the lily trade, delicate looking flowers have a delicate, flyaway look but are quite sturdy. Imagine this lily growing out of a clump of Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens (black monkey grass) The spidery blackness of the grass perfectly complements this witchy looking lily.

Lilium 'Landini'

Landini – Asiatic near-black lily with slender petals. When paired with pink or red petunias, this black lily pops!

Olina – this striking lily is not all dark, it is red with a dark black center on star shaped flowers. This would look stunning in a container where Black Magic coleus provides mid-height interest and trailing chartreuse sweet potato vine sets off the black color of both.

Black plants joined with plants of contrasting color will give zing to your garden! Enjoy the new black lilies in your plantings.

 --by Kim Peterson