Lilies forum: How did you become interested in lilies?

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Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 21, 2013 8:02 AM CST
There are a couple milestones in every lily grower's mind that stand out and you never forget. Like the first lily you planted that got your attention or a significant happening or event that captured your mind or the first time you got screwed over good by a bulb mail order place. Those are things one never forgets. What happened, that was so captivating so as to get you started with lilies?

Mine was when a distant acquaintance brought me a box of about 50 Trumpet lilies from an Estate Sale. Although, I always had some lilies growing in a mixed garden settings, when those 50 or so Trumpets bloomed in my 'orphan garden' the following year--I has hooked for good. The beauty and fragrance won me over and really was the 'significant event' that got me started as an involved lily hobbyist. It changed the direction and appearance of my whole gardening experience!


[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Oct 21, 2013 8:09 AM (+)]
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Name: Connie
Willamette Valley OR (Zone 8a)
Forum moderator Hybridizer Region: Pacific Northwest Lilies Sempervivums Sedums
Pollen collector I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Charter ATP Member Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier
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pardalinum
Oct 22, 2013 11:34 PM CST

Moderator

I can't say there was any one event that brought me to lilies. I have been through a few different plant obsessions (addictions) over the years. I have always been a big fan of going out and visiting our nurseries and growers' farms, Schreiner's Irises and the tulip farms for example.

One day around 1987 or so I was reading the Salem Statesman Journal and there was this article about this farm called Oregon Bulb Farm that was going bankrupt. It was located not far from me, maybe forty-five miles or so. I didn't pay much attention to what I read but I remember it said they grew lilies there. I hadn't grown any lilies and really didn't know exactly what they were since it seemed the term "lily" was attached to many plants. I just shrugged and went on my way gardening as usual.

Sometime in the mid '90s I read an article about lilies in a major gardening magazine. I decided they were definitely not a plant I wanted. It said they needed excellent drainage, staking and red beetles ate them. I was (and still am) too lazy to fuss about all of that.

A couple of years later I saw some lilies in Van Bourgondien catalog. For me they were pretty expensive, $4 for one bulb. Yikes! I was more used to tulip bulb prices! I splurged and bought just two, Antonia and King Pete. They actually grew better than I expected and King Pete multiplied. I don't recall buying any lily bulbs soon after those.

In 1997 I came across an ad in a gardening magazine where I could buy some lily seeds. The seed list was free so I sent for it. The company was Cascade Bulb and Seed, just a few miles from me. The seeds were cheap, most $1.25 a packet. I bought some seeds for dwarf trumpets and medium to tall yellow and white trumpets. They were easy to start and grew fast. I would go out every few weeks and poke my finger into the soil to see how big the bulbs were getting. They were amazing! When they bloomed I took photographs of them and kept them on my desk at work. I would say I was hooked on lilies then.

I joined NALS in 2000 and Pacific Northwest Lily Society in 2003. From these two groups I learned about Oregon Bulb Farm and the impact it had on the lily industry in the United States.

I have grown many lilies from seeds, mostly trumpets and Asiatics. Of course I also buy lily cultivars now. Planted a few today, in fact.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it Hilarious! .
Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
idont havemuch-but ihave everything
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Australia Lilies Seed Starter Bulbs
Plant and/or Seed Trader Hellebores Birds Seller of Garden Stuff Garden Art Cat Lover
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gwhizz
Oct 23, 2013 3:05 AM CST
I had a great mentor..My young life was filled with Speedway Racing and then I worked as a Security Agent[nightshift] ..but somewhere around 2003-4 things changed and a lady named' Fay',sat a lilium catalogue in front of me and said 'pick yourself out some bulbs', which I did..!Well, I grew those bulbs and thought 'oh my god, how magnificent'...I have never looked back since. Fay passed away almost 4 years ago and left me her legacy of bulbs and a 55 year old'sulphur crested cockatoo', who is almost human..Old traits and old wisdom stay with me, for which I am very thankful Thumbs up
lily freaks are not geeks!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 23, 2013 9:25 AM CST
Not to interrupt, but just to comment on Connie's mention of Oregon Farms bankruptcy in 1987. It wasn't because of low bulb production and poor sales. The company produced 11,000,000 bulbs in 1984 and was profitable during the time. It was the financial scheming of then CEO George Heublein, the high flying, jet setter, financial whiz kid, who (to make a long and captivating story short) in essence cooked the books (similar to Erron) to fraudulently inflate the stock price to encourage investors to invest even more money. When Accounting irregularities were legally discovered, his paper financial empire collapsed bilking investors out of millions; and, bringing down with it, the Oregon Bulb Farm and nearly four other companies which he had bought with 'funny money financing' during his reign. One of those was Sun Valley of Arcata, California ( Mike--are you reading?) By then Heublein had weaseled money into three bank accounts in Cairo and into four Swiss bank accounts. When authorities came looking for Heuberlein, he was nowhere to be found. He led the FBI, Interpol and Scotland yard on a worldwide goose chase that lasted several years until he was finally arrested in 1996 while living in a one room ninety dollar a month apartment in Miami with only a stove, refrigerator and 10 inch black and white TV. Heuberlein was charged with fraud and sentenced to five years in federal prison. He and his partners paid back about 90 million in restitution. Heublein was operating ahead of the curve in the arena of white collar crime--he would have been right at home on Wall Street during the more recent mortgage and financial collapse.
[Last edited by Roosterlorn - Oct 23, 2013 11:35 AM (+)]
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central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
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jmorth
Oct 23, 2013 2:49 PM CST
Interesting history.

I got my lily start back in the mid 80's when I worked for a seed company. I was in charge of 5000 acres of seed corn grown under irrigation along the Illinois River, about 75 miles from home. Every day I had to travel that distance to ascertain field conditions and got in the habit of identifying roadside wildflowers. One day I noted a new one and had to pull over and walked up to figure it out. It was a wild lily. I was mesmerized and from that point on fell head over heels for the genus Lilium.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 25, 2013 8:12 AM CST
De-tasseling. Did you over see that too? I wonder if they still do that by hand. I still wear DeKalb and Pioneer caps around here! Except on week ends--then I have to wear my Bears and Packers caps. Rolling on the floor laughing

I suppose if you took different routes back and forth along the river, you'd see a full seasonal array of lowland and upland flowers. Is that where you learned how to take such good pictures of the lilies you post?
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Plant Database Moderator Garden Ideas: Level 2 Photo Contest Winner: 2014
Avid Green Pages Reviewer Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
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jmorth
Oct 25, 2013 2:00 PM CST
De-tasseling included.
I have a Green Bay sweatshirt on even as I type...Packers assumed 1st choice after the Rams lost Kurt Werner.
Thanks for the complement but good lily pics didn't start until well entrenched in the digital age.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Oct 25, 2013 3:21 PM CST
jmorth said:Thanks for the complement but good lily pics didn't start until well entrenched in the digital age.


Yes! Taking good closeups with digital cameras is like cheating, compared to the film era. nodding
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Oct 25, 2013 6:19 PM CST
We grew up with two horticultural aunts. One maintained acres of country gardens and orchards, the other likewise but was also a florist, nursery owner and RHS addict. Both gardened from mail order catalogues. Pat, the nursery aunt, would pay me in out of date seed packets to help in the nursery.

One day when I was around 10-11yrs she came to our primary school with home-harvested trumpet lily seed for our class to start as a science experiment. We got a packet each and started them in ice cream containers. They grew! I was so excited. The summer I turned 12 enormous soft yellow trumpets bloomed for me and I was hooked. I pestered Pat to take me to the meetings of the newly formed North West Tasmanian Lilium Society which she helped found. She showed me how to hybridise and I raided her and my other aunt's garden for pollen and lilies to pollinate. My first cross was Trenwell x Pink Champagne. She showed me the Golden Ray Lily Gardens catalogue and I spent an enormous $30 of my hard earned calf-rearing money. She gave me Let's Grow Lilies for Christmas of 1984 and R.M. Withers Lilium in Australia the year after.

Those first hybridising efforts grew some babies I adored. I wanted to name a lily for her, but the time had come to leave for university and I took my favourite babies with me in pots and tendered them in rental accommodation. That first summer holiday there was adventure on offer and I left my babies in the care of my dear and trusted land lady. When I returned every one of them was dead. I learned that now nice a person is has no bearing on their ability to notice a plant in need of watering, even when they commit to the responsibility to water beforehand.

It was hard starting again while moving from rental to rental, and there have been a couple of periods when I gave up, but I always started again with stuff of mine that had survived back on the farm and material gifted me by lovely lily mentors of the NWTLS, even after Pat died.

I still have to name and register a lily for Pat. One year soon.
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Oct 25, 2013 8:11 PM CST
What a wonderful story to read to end my long day outdoors. Beautiful!
Name: della
hobart, tasmania
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Photo Contest Winner: 2015
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dellac
Oct 26, 2013 6:06 AM CST
Thanks. It was a great question to ask. I like reading how folk got hooked on lilies. Smiling
Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
The only scarce resource is time
Dahlias Dog Lover Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Roses Bulbs
Seed Starter Lilies Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Cantillon
Nov 11, 2013 11:08 AM CST
I saw the Japanese Golden Ray Lily, Lilium Auratum Goldband. It had the same effect as hearing the Pacabel canon for the first time. I was hooked. From there I went to planting lily beds, but it didn't showcase them the way I wanted, so now I plant groups of bulbs among the beds.

Here are another couple of hundred bulbs that arrived and are being set out to lose the sweat they came with when delivered in plastic bags from a grower, I mean really, plastic bags?!

Thumb of 2013-11-11/Cantillon/275039
Wet bulbs drying, a little.

Thumb of 2013-11-11/Cantillon/fd3670
Lilium Auratum Goldband
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Plant Identifier
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Leftwood
Nov 11, 2013 4:54 PM CST
I know exactly what you mean when you reference Pachelbel's canon. When I heard it, I started looking for other works by him, too. Was introduced to Fasch in the process, whom I like, also.
Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
idont havemuch-but ihave everything
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Australia Lilies Seed Starter Bulbs
Plant and/or Seed Trader Hellebores Birds Seller of Garden Stuff Garden Art Cat Lover
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gwhizz
Nov 12, 2013 2:28 AM CST
I must say, I do like Pachelbel's cannon-and ACDC
lily freaks are not geeks!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Nov 12, 2013 5:09 AM CST
Welcome! Peter--shipping lily bulbs in sealed plastic bags or freezer bags is the norm and most all growers/sellers in North America add plenty of peat moss, perlite, or coarse pine saw dust for moisture control. Whoever you bought from used shredded paper? Who was that? That's a first time ever for me seeing that. Not inferring that it's bad thing, here--just struck me as 'different'.

200 bulbs would make anywhere from 40 to 60 or more nice groups of 3 or 5. That's a lot of work! When it comes to lilies, I call it 'fun'. I see you are in zone 9a. Would that be a North American 9a, such as Florida, California, etc.? I'm interested in what lilies perform best in your zone and environment as well as what other plants you grow in your mixed garden settings. Keep posting. Welcome!
Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
The only scarce resource is time
Dahlias Dog Lover Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Roses Bulbs
Seed Starter Lilies Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Cantillon
Nov 12, 2013 6:16 PM CST
Hi Lorn,

East coast of Ireland, outskirts of Dublin, zone 9 around the coast, and zone 8 inland. I have a hundred yard driveway with parallel beds each side, and I have mixed the growing medium on each side for the length of them. The planting is easier since I made the mix, but I have many dahlias to redeploy/uproot and pass on/lift and split and time is limited.

The bulbs came from J Parker Wholesale in the UK. Interesting website for catalogue shopping. The link is below. I used them as their value is good. Their gladioli range is tremendous in their spring catalogue.

http://www.dutchbulbs.co.uk/c-eg/trumpet/

Sterling/dollar exchange rate is c. 1.50 dollars equals 1 pound sterling and the pricing is pretty good I think. They are priced somewhere between retail and wholesale.

Trust this is helpful, thanks for the welcome,

Kind regards,

Peter

Thumb of 2013-11-13/Cantillon/bd467d
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Nov 12, 2013 10:16 PM CST
Interesting, indeed. I've been to Ireland a couple times, once when John DeLorean was starting to build the DeLorean automobile there in Dublin and another at an old Rolls Royce plant in DunDonnell (maybe spelled wrong) where General Motors was setting up a seat belt/passive restraint system for their European production (although, I was never on GM's payroll) I worked for Chrysler at the time. Two things I remember, aside from all the fine glass shops was how warm and green it was there in January and February; and, I remember going to a new construction home site of a young engineer, where I was able to examine the soil as quite sandy and light with good drainage. I can see where dahlias and lilies would grow exceptionally well there. Especially lilies of LA, LO or Trumpet.

Aside from casual participants, this lily forum has a group of regulars that possesses a broad spectrum of lilium knowledge and lilium growing experience. I have learned a lot and shared a lot about lilies since I joined here about two years ago. I hope you post often to broaden the experience even more.

Loved seeing the pictures!
Name: Anthony Gloriosoides[ sure!]
Rosetta,Tasmania,Australia (Zone 7b)
idont havemuch-but ihave everything
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Australia Lilies Seed Starter Bulbs
Plant and/or Seed Trader Hellebores Birds Seller of Garden Stuff Garden Art Cat Lover
Image
gwhizz
Nov 13, 2013 3:57 AM CST
Lorn , I worked for Chrysler here in the 80/90s.. Just attended a reunion on the 2nd..You have a lot to tell of your life, no doubt!
lily freaks are not geeks!
Name: Lorn (Roosterlorn)
S.E Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Lilies Seed Starter Pollen collector Bee Lover Region: Wisconsin
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Roosterlorn
Nov 13, 2013 9:18 AM CST
Oh, yes indeed. A good portion of my career involved doing corporate appraisals on companies we had contracts with where I would spend several days in residency with each. I got to see much of North America during that time. During the evenings, rather than sit in a motel room writing reports or phoning my directors on King's Row back in Detroit, I would sneak off and drive all around the countryside enjoying the flora and fauna until dark, stopping often to check the soil and chat with locals about their crops and gardens. One time while out on one of my sneak offs, I was stopped, arrested and jailed in Crossville, Tennessee because the Holiday Inn had just been robbed and my rental car fit the reported description as the car seen leaving the place. Not many people can say this, but I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of my working career.
Name: Peter
(Zone 9a)
The only scarce resource is time
Dahlias Dog Lover Bee Lover Cottage Gardener Roses Bulbs
Seed Starter Lilies Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Level 2
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Cantillon
Nov 13, 2013 1:57 PM CST
If you were at the DeLorean factory you were in the heart of some very poor estates at the height of the Troubles in Belfast. Great people, lots of sorrow though. Funny old car that DeLorean.

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