'Wild Lilies' (Lilium)
Many of the wild lilies have been adapted to garden environments. For example, in the early part of this century, Rubrum lilies were so prolific in Japan that they grew wild throughout the country. Hirotaka Uchida was one of Japan’s most proficient farmers. Hirotaka’s personal pursuit involved the cultivation of exceptional Rubrum lilies. He selected the most beautiful flowers, which showed the greatest resistance to disease. These were transplanted to a specific field where he and his eldest son cared for them.
When World War II began, many orchards were turned into potato fields. Although flower fields were discouraged, the Uchidas had such affection for their special clones that, while other flowers disappeared, their lily efforts continued. After the war, the Uchida family exported the first 60 bulbs of their crowning achievement: a lightly fragrant, beautiful rose-crimson, spotted Rubrum which demonstrates exceptional hardiness.
By 1950, the not-yet-named ‘Uchida’ had received wide recognition for its resistance to virus. Six years later, it was officially registered as Lilium speciosum rubrum "Uchida", in recognition of its cultivators. A gold medal was awarded in 1963 at the prestigious Internationalle Gartenbau Ausstellung in Hamburg, Germany. This popular Rubrum is established as a true heirloom, to pass on in ever-increasing numbers from generation to generation to delight the senses.