Garden Mysteries: Tiger Lilies

While walking around my garden the other day I noticed something strange.

Yellow Lilies

Yellow lilies stick together

My asiatic lilies, which I planted last year in a random pattern of red, orange, and yellow, this year are all clumped together by color.  First yellow, then all orange, then all red.





Red Lilies

Red Lilies do not mix with others


A few years ago the woman who runs the coffee shop in my work building told me (out of the blue, we had not been talking about lilies – but perhaps that is a mystery for another day) that lilies will cross-pollinate and all turn orange if you mix them.  But that doesn’t seem to be happening here, as there are equal amounts of each color.




Orange Lilies

Orange Lilies coordinate by color and also delay blooming together

Googling “cross-pollinate lilies orange” doesn’t turn up anything either although it seems that there are some folks experiencing this phenomenon over at gardenweb.

I know plants can do amazing things but… uprooting and re-organizing by color seems beyond the abilities of even the most clever plants.

I have a favorite

I feel a little bad about it, but I do have a favorite flower. Please don’t tell the others: I dote on them, too. I am so happy that the lilium genus is so easy to grow, their elegance springing up year after year in their many guises. Bloodwort is one of the first to show up for the spring party. Nubs of leaves pushing up like burly shoulders through the cool soil. They’re grey, tinged with a dirty pink; the delicate, flawless white flowers that follow shine among the leaves left from the autumn. The insides of foxgloves are secretive, full of hidden folds and structures whose function is known only to the bees.

Lilium 'Courier' shines with elegance

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