Last year Longfield Gardens sent some double Oriental lilies for me to try. This year they are coming up gangbusters.Double means that instead of a flower having a pistil and stamens, additional petals grow in their place. Some flowers, like peonies, have been double for so long that no one gives it a second thought. But when hybridizers figure out how to breed doubleness in a flower that’s been single for a long time, gardeners have opinions on it. I’ve been posting pictures of these lilies on Facebook, and reaction has been mixed. One friend said instead of ‘Polar Star’ it should be called ‘Frankenlily’. Another friend thought the doubling “ruins the purity of the lines.” Other gardeners love them. “Normally I would say I do not like double lilies much but I do like the look of that particular one [‘Broken Heart’], one gardener responded.” Another gardener said, “Love them. Have one in my garden!”
Why double lilies?
The main reason lilies were bred to be double is that the pollen on the anthers stains clothing and rugs. Some florists actually snip the anthers off before selling their floral arrangements to customers. Was that enough of a reason to go through the years of breeding necessary to make double Oriental lilies a reality? Have you ever had lily pollen stain your clothes?
What does Kathy think of double Oriental lilies?
I am ambivalent. I am thrilled they have that wonderful Oriental lily scent, and because the flowers can’t get fertilized, the individual blossoms last longer–so the scent does, too. And I notice they catch my eye more from within the house. But–they just don’t look like lilies.
If I were to advise someone about how to use them in the landscape, I’d suggest planting them in a bed where they will be viewed from a distance–where you want big blobs of color, frankly–and preferably where their fragrance will be blown to where you like to sit. But for up close and personal, I like my lilies to look like lilies. I’m going to try some Orienpets next.
Save 20% off any of Longfield Gardens current offerings now until August 20, 2014. Sorry to say, their double Oriental lilies are only offered in the spring, but you can enjoy a a 20% savings on your fall bulb orders by using coupon code CCG20 when you check out. They will also know that Kathy Purdy sent you!