The Dangers of ‘Help Yourself’

In my recent post on Lily Landini I mentioned the imminent white and pink trumpet flowers of Lily ‘Triumphator’. Well………..here they are!

Not ‘Triumphator’!

Not quite what I expected! Another bulb is still to flower so let’s hope the mistake was not repeated twice!

It is very irritating when something like this goes wrong but I only have myself to blame. In typical trusting fashion, I relied on the supplier to have the right bulbs in the right boxes when I helped myself from the enticing selection on display at the Hampton Court show. Someone probably hesitated, changed their mind and put a bulb back in the wrong box which I then picked up. I would not have purchased a lily this colour but, despite not knowing it’s name, I will find it a place in the garden.

Update

The second bulb opened today and to my relief…it was ‘Triumphator’!

Lily ‘Triumphator’

It is amazing to see the huge green bud one day and this huge trumpet flower the next, one of the wonders of nature.

How could any pollinating insect resist!

Loaded with pollen, this giant flower sits patiently waiting for some lucky insects to pass by.

 

Pollen-Free Lilies

One of my mini trials this year has been to see if so called ‘pollen-free’ lilies are as worthy as the fully loaded versions. The main purpose was to find a group of lilies that I could grow as cut flowers but which did not have the usual annoying habit of dropping their pollen and staining hands, clothes, tablecloths and runners, and even furniture. Strong stuff that pollen! Incidentally, the last thing you do if you want to remove pollen from material of any kind is to use a damp cloth. This just makes things worse. The best thing to do is to use sticky tape and lift the pollen off without rubbing.

I bought 3 pink varieties for the trial; ‘Elodie’, ‘Miss Lucy’ and ‘Brokenheart’.

First mistake was ‘Elodie’. Absolutely no scent! What a waste of time and money. It looked like a lily which should have had pollen but had it washed off. The style and stamens were in place but there were no anthers or stigma and no pollen. Weird!

‘Elodie’ a pretty lilly and no pollen, but no scent either!

Next to open, two weeks later than ‘Elodie’ and thirteen weeks after planting, was ‘Miss Lucy’, a beautiful white and shell pink lily with an intense fragrance. Unlike ‘Elodie’, the reproductive parts are hidden by sepals which do do not open but form a central ‘cone’. Two stems in a vase filled the room with scent.

‘Miss Lucy’ pollen-free and highly fragrant.

A week later than ‘Miss Lucy and fourteen weeks after planting, ‘Brokenheart’ finally opened and is pleasant but not as striking as ‘Miss Lucy’ in my personal opinion.‘Brokenheart’ was certainly the most branched and with the most flowers, approx 6 on each stem, but the buds opened pointing downwards and gradually lifted their heads to reveal their beauty and amazing scent.

Overall, I would rate this trial a success because it has proved you don’t need the pollen to get beautiful scented lilies. However, the colour palette is currently limited and would therefore not satisfy every occasion. There is also one slightly worrying aspect which I need to investigate further. Although there is no pollen, the flowers appear to exude a colourless sticky residue which falls on to the leaves and then on to the surface holding the vase. In our case, this was an expensive oak side table! Fortunately, it does not seem to stain and is easily wiped off but annoying and unsightly nevertheless.

Free but costly!!

Lily ‘Elodie’ which is pollen free is also scent free! The idea was to have lilies for the house which didn’t drop pollen, but without scent it is pretty useless for that purpose. I understand the other two I am growing, ‘Miss Lucy’ and ‘Brokenheart’ are highly fragrant. Hope so!

Pollen free Lily ‘Elodie’ is also scent free! Pretty but disappointing.