Bred by Robert Griesbach, ‘Leslie Woodriff’ is quite possibly the best of all his creations and was named in honor of Mr. Leslie Woodriff, the father of the Oriental Hybrid Lily. We knew Leslie well, counting him among our closest friends in life, and this lily was rightfully named for him. It is as colorful and unique in the garden as Leslie was in life and in his garden.
We first viewed this lily at the home of LaVern Friemann of Bellingham, Washington in the late 1980’s, a bulb given him by Robert for use in his ‘Black Beauty’ breeding line. Eventually when LaVern retired and passed along all of his material to us, it included several bulbs of ‘Leslie Woodriff’ propagated from the bulb he received from Mr. Griesbach years earlier. ‘Leslie Woodriff’ was first released to the garden trade in 1987 by our good friend, Julius Wadekamper, then owner of Borbeleta Gardens in Minnesota at the time. Julius was a peer and close friend of both Robert and LeVern and introduced selections from both men.
This beauty has floated around in our display garden, the "gene pool" garden and the breeding house for around 20 years. Erroneous information has been spread concerning this lily, either out of ignorance or in an attempt to make it more "sexy" or to increase sales? Whatever the reason, we want to correct the erroneous statements of others concerning both 'Leslie Woodriff', the lily and Leslie Woodriff, the man. Maybe the errors are an attempt to sound as if they know the lilies they are offering and know what they are talking about when in reality, they just buy and re-sell.
What is true is that ‘Leslie Woodriff’ has a white base color and is highlighted in the flower centers with a rich, nearly Bing-Cherry red coloration. The nectary furrows are a lovely green and yellow. Typically stems reach about 4 feet and it can be slow to settle in being stingy with blooms until established. We have moved bulbs over 10 inches in circumference only to find even with their enormous size they only produced 3 or 4 flowers the following season whereas the previous season they had upwards of 2 dozen or more.
‘Leslie Woodriff’ was bred from ‘Tetraploid Black Beauty’ and ‘Tetraploid White Henryi’. It is not the product of ‘Black Beauty’ and ‘Scheherazade’ as some are now reporting as they feature 'Scheherazade' as well. What is true is that Mr. Leslie Woodriff created both 'Black Beauty' and 'White Henryi', but it is erroneous is to say that Leslie had any connection or input into the creation of 'Scheherazade'. He did not. In fact, the selection ‘LF-13’ which later became ‘Scheherazade’ was but a mere seedling when ‘Leslie Woodriff’ first arrived in the garden of LaVern Friemann, the breeder who created ‘Scheherazade’ as documented in the book ‘Lilies’ by LaVern's friend Edward McRae. Examples of the next generation coming out of 'Leslie Woodriff' can be seen by clicking on the "In the Works" button on our home page. View selections 2003eot1, 2004eot2, and 2005eot8.
Promoted as being a “rebloomer” along with ‘Scheherazade’ that "repeats the blooming process sometimes twice in the same season", we have to disagree with this statement. The key word in this quote is "sometimes". When yours doesn't re-bloom and you contact the company, they can say we said "sometimes". This is more like the text you see on auction sites, not text coming from multi-million dollar companies.
In nearly 20 years of familiarity with both of these lilies in our fields, we have seen stems reach over 6 feet and have in excess of 40 flowers, but never, as with all true lilies, has there ever been a second bloom as you see with some daylilies. True lilies put up a stem, produce buds on that stem, the buds open into flower, the petals eventually fall off, and that is it, the lily bulb must then prepare itself for the following year. They do not produce a second growth of buds on the same stem and flower again later in the season. When they are done flowering, they are done for the season. This is a Lily fact of life, and to say it stays in flower as long as 8 weeks is also be a real stretch. With a well established stem producing both secondary and tertiary buds, 5 weeks yes, 6 weeks maybe.
The above is offered as an FYI by someone who has been familiar with this lily since its beginning and to set straight the recorded parentage being erroneously reported on line and in other catalogs along with our first hand observations of its flowering cycle. Though most gardners don't really care about the orgins of the lilies they want in their gardens, we are historians as well as growers and don't like seeing history revised. We actually grow and produce the lilies we offer you, our customers. We are not just jobbers who write “flowery” descriptions "sometimes" promising that which the lily cannot deliver. While jobbers have someone sitting in an office writing about that of which they often have little or no first hand growing experience, we have been in the field for over 3 decades getting dirt under our fingernails. On the plus side, neither 'Leslie Woodriff' nor 'Scheherazade' have been referred to as "trees" yet. OT lilies are not and do not become trees. Maybe it is time for the FTC to check into the growing number of false and/or misleading claims found on the web?
Bulb Size - Our standard for bulbs of this Orienpet Hybrid Lily Bulb cultivar ranges from Premium-size» (16/18 cm) to Exhibition-size» (over 20 cm). Click here for details.
Classification: Orienpet Hybrid Lily Bulb (USDA Zones 5-9, the colder climates of this range must provide winter mulching.)