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Queen of the Lilies

Spicy Orientals
As our long time customers know, because our growing season here in the Pacific Northwest has been getting shorter and shorter each year, with less heat over summer, we were finding that the Orientals in our home field simply needed more time in the latter part of the season to fully harden off, and firm up for harvest. Without going into the debate over global warming / cooling / climate change, we have found that the Oriental lilies on our farm are emerging later (a month or more than in the past) in the spring due to the excessive, prolonged cold along with heavy rains, and though blooming normally in July/August, they are not starting to fully firm up for safe digging until late October. Leaves are staying green until much later than usual, which means the lily bulbs are still using them to fatten up for winter.

The Good News is that a good friend located on the deep, rich, fertile soils of the Willimatte Valley in Oregon has picked up the torch and is now producing a nice selection of Orientals that due to their warmer spring and summer temperatures will be ready for fall shipping. These lilies in the field look fantastic for this first crop and may even surpass the quality our home field bulbs have been known for.

We have now a limited supply of Orientals for this fall and as their production increases over the next few years, more and more variety will be available to our fall shipped customers as their production increases.

These lily bulbs (Lilium) produce some the the most exotic and showy flowers in the plant kingdom, with casual observers often mistaking Oriental Lily flowers for huge orchids. They prefer slightly acid, well-drained soil; where temperature are consistently above 90 degrees F. during the summer, plant in dappled shade or where the hot afternoon sun will be blocked.

Lily Bulbs the size of your fist or smaller should have 5 to 6 inches of soil covering them. The old adage of "2-1/2 times the depth (of the bulb) works here. If you have heavy soil, it would be better to plant a bit more shallow or use a raised bed for better drainage.

Photo shown is in a hybridizing greenhouse and the colored ribbons are selections that will be planted out for further evaluation under field conditions. Oriental lilies come primarily in shades of pink, red, rose and white. Some clones with L. auratum have produced yellow banded lilies, such as 'Cat's Eye which will be available again in the spring of 2020.
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