October 19, 2019

Planting Orienpet Lilies for Midsummer Blooms

I'm in the middle of planting hundreds of bulbs this fall, including nearly two dozen Orienpet lilies from B&D Lilies.  In past years I've planted a number of Orientals that have failed to grow vigorously, but the Orienpets (Oriental x Trumpet hybrids) are much more sturdy and floriferous, even when they face competition from other perennials growing nearby.  Above is 'LeVern Friemann,' aka 'Miss Feya,' which B&D Lilies recommends as the best hybrid lily ever created.  It has a beautiful fragrance, grows 5 to 6 feet tall, and can produce dozens of flowers on each stalk when established.

I planted six more 'LeVern Friemann' bulbs and transplanted a few that had become crowded.  One of the transplanted bulbs had produced 2 stalks taller than me and was as big as a cantaloupe!  These large bulbs need to be planted up to a foot deep to give room for the feeder roots that grow out of the stalk just above the bulb.  Roots growing from the base of the bulb hold the plant in place.

Last fall I planted some 'Purple Prince' Orienpet bulbs (from a different company) and enjoyed a few blooms this year.  Hopefully they'll settle in and put on a better show next July.  The flowers were trumpet-shaped and purplish-pink, not true purple.  I expect they'll blend well with the color of nearby 'Mini Mauvette' hydrangeas when the shrubs finally get large enough to bloom.

Here is a first-year 'Elusive' Orienpet lily planted with 'Chantilly Peach' snapdragons, 'Magical Desire' Hypericum and 'Beyond Blue' Campanula.  The peachy-pink color with a yellow center was really lovely, as was the fragrance.  On hot days the opening flowers were a paler color.  This summer an 'Elusive' bulb I planted a few years ago grew to nearly 7 feet tall in partial shade.  B&D Lilies recommends feeding lilies with fertilizer or nutrient-rich compost every year or they won't continue to grow and bloom well.

A stalk from a 'Pink Snowflake' Orienpet lily from B&D Lilies boasted 7 flowers, and it has survived whereas Oriental 'Casa Blanca' disappeared from the same area.  The aphids really liked this one, but they were easily washed off when I actually remembered to pull over the hose and do it.  The buds are sometimes pink (obviously these don't look very pink) but they open white.  Last fall I planted six 'Pretty Woman' Orienpet bulbs nearby, but they weren't from B&D Lilies so they were smaller in bulb and in growth this summer.  However I loved the almost-white flowers from 'Pretty Woman' and look forward to more flowers next summer if I can remember to keep fertilizing them.

These 'Royal Sunset' lilies are an Easter x Asiatic hybrid instead of an Orienpet but have been growing and reproducing prolifically for many years despite less than ideal conditions in my west garden.   Their color is really lovely next to my David Austin 'Lady Emma Hamilton' rose.
The other Orienpets I planted this fall were deep pink 'Fujian' and maroon 'Formia', and I expect a decent performance next year from them since they came from B&D Lilies.  I also made a second order from B&D yesterday of a dozen 'Red Velvet' lilies, as RV is a triploid Asiatic hybrid that is known for being 'tough as nails' while producing old fashioned candelabras of deep red hanging flowers that look so pretty in the garden.
I'm grateful for beautiful lilies that add showy, elegant flowers to the midsummer garden after the peonies have finished and while roses are taking a break from blooming but before the dramatic dahlias begin.  They definitely draw the eye to their large blooms on tall stalks, and their fragrance is a delight.  I'm also grateful that the blooms on these types of lilies last longer than their daylily cousins, so the deadheading is less overwhelming.