Why Garden Lilies? Let me explain.
Most people are probably unaware of the difference between garden lilies and the majority of lilies that are available commercially.
All lilies are amazing. However, different lilies are better for different situations.
The vast majority of lilies sold through nurseries and retail outlets in Australia and overseas come from the very large cut-flower industry mostly based in the Netherlands. They are very good at what they do.
What they do is produce lilies that give the cut-flower (floristry) trade what they need. That is, the flowers are overwhelmingly up-facing. This means that when they are harvested, before the buds open, they can be packed tightly into boxes for shipment around the globe. They also prefer to have all flowers opening together for maximum impact in a vase.
Garden lilies are very different.
They are frequently out-facing (horizontal), or down-facing (pendant). This means that they present very differently in the garden – especially on sloping sites.
It also gives a degree of resistance to the challenges of inclement weather. A shower of rain can turn a brilliant display of up-facing lilies into an unsightly “pollen soup”.
Garden lilies commonly open flowers at the lower end of the stem first and progressively open up the stem. This extends the display period in the garden by a week or more on larger stems.
Some garden lilies have secondary, or even tertiary buds. That is, the pedicel, that connects the flower to the stem, branches and produces a further bud (secondary), or maybe a third bud (tertiary). This means that as the top buds are opening, the lower secondary buds start to open and the progression is repeated once more. Some stems can produce flowers in the garden for up to 7 or 8 weeks!
In breeding garden lilies, we also look for longer pedicels that allow better spacing and avoid that over-crowded look. This also has the benefit of allowing better air circulation and hence reduces unsightly fungal diseases.
Why garden lilies ? Hopefully, I have explained the differences.
Having more garden lilies in your garden can greatly enhance its visual appeal and weather resistance.
Of course, you may wish to have some cut-flower lilies as well if you enjoy cutting flowers for indoor decoration.