June 2nd brought us the first of our Asiatic Lilies in the backyard: Lollypop. Last year it wasn't until June 6th before we saw the first Lollypop, so we're a little ahead of last year. That is not surprising the way the weather has been warmer by about 2ºC each month since February.
The other Asiatics are not far behind, we can expect to see the first 'Orange Beauty' open by week's end. They made quite the show last year, but this year will be even better. It looks as if we'll have about double the number of blooms we had in 2003 and there is just a ton of new bulbs developing this year that will not flower until next year.
The same actually goes for the 'Lollypops' we have, they have thrown a goodly number of new shoots. Remember those 'Red Bull' Asiatics we talked about in May, they now have started to show new growth off the main bulb on a couple as well. I'm telling ya, this lily explosion we're seeing is not far from them becoming weeds. After all, a weed really is nothing more than a plant in an unwanted spot and we're starting to get there with the lilies. We'll be busy bees in the fall digging up all the lily bulbs we have, re-arranging them, potting up the excess for next spring's garage sale and scratching our heads where we will put them all in the mean time:)
We have had a few 'Red Bull' bloom already, but because the bulbs they came on were so badly stored, their blooms have been small and we suspect somewhat mis-shapen. One of them in a 5½" pot was in flower as well today, June 2nd. A nice shade of maroon don't you think? We look forward to having it make a better showing next year. Hopefully they'll bloom at the same sort of time as they did this year.
Now that we have a reasonable assortment of Asiatics and LA's we can start giving some thought to which varieties to plant in combination, some will go quite nicely in combination with others. For instance, there is a new LA we have this year called 'Suncrest' that we suspect would make a nice companion to 'Red Bull'. 'Suncrest' by the way is making a spectacular showing in it's first season, as you can see below.
We have made mention elsewhere of issues with respect to the content of some of the packages of perennials we have purchased at Costco: the packaging not necessarily being representative of the contents. It is worth noting in this regard that the illustration on the package the 'Red Bulls' came from shows a bloom that borders on the orange side of red, while the bloom we have here is much more maroon and closer to the other illustrations on the web we have seen of this variety. And the 'Suncrest' package showed blooms that were a very pale yellow, almost white.
Because the 'Suncrest' are in a pot it was easy to place them just below the stand of 'Orange Beauty' and I think you will agree that it is not the best colour combination. Just scroll back up just slightly to partially expose the 'Red Bull' picture and it is obvious that IT is much better suited as a companion for 'Suncrest'. There is another Asiatic new for us by the name of 'Cordelia', it is almost solid yellow and will likely make a much better choice to plant with 'Orange Beauty'. 'Cordelia' got planted after the others were already breaking ground, so for this year it will probably not flower until after the other Asiatics are already done.
A pleasant surprise for us this spring: 'La Toya', an Asiatic which Roak gave us last fall as a bulbil. This being it's first year I wouldn't have expected any blooms, but look, there are three. With that kind of vigour they may give 'Orange Beauty' a run for spreading fast!
Talking about bulbils, it's great to see that the 'Polyanna' bulbs we have are throwing bulbils, in spite of their stunted state. A few will get planted of course and we can only keep our fingers crossed they'll show first year colour the way 'La Toya' did.