The lilies we long for all year - the elegantly overblown, sweetly scented Orientals like the icy-white 'Casablanca', won't bloom for nearly another month. But this heat has brought on the first wave of lilies, and the Asiatics have distinctive virtues. They're upward-facing and short enough not to need staking, Because they usually don't grow much more than 3-4 feet high, Asiatics don't so dominate the garden as the showboat Orientals. You can mix them into borders and pair them with foliage and flowers that complement their beautiful coloring and dramatic, flaring, open shapes. Does all this make up for being pretty much scent-less? You decide....I love having lilies in bloom before the end of June, so I always plant a few Asiatics in pots and front-of-border.
I was admiring a stand of deep red Asiatics at Useless Bay Coffee Company, on 2nd Street in Langley on Whidbey Island the other morning. Luckily, I was with my son who is never without his phone...so we got a photo of the lilies floating in a sea of silvery artemisia, their color echoed in the brighter reddish-pink of self-seeding rose campion (Lychnis coronaria). I think these lilies might well be 'Red Alert'..which have a very light scent...The artemisia will hide the dying-down stems of the lilies later in the summer....maybe some sunflowers will make their way up through to carry the garden on through summer?
If you're in Langley for the holiday weekend, be sure and stop by UBCC for a lily-fix, as well as for the best coffee on the island.
An Asiatic lily growing in a pot in my garden...it multiplies and blooms happily every year....