A tale of two mystery lilies
Soon as this particular one to the left opened up July 1st 2004, I said "Hey, that looks familiar, just don't ask me what it is....."
Sure enough, it rather reminds me of an unidentified one we had pop-up last year, yet somewhat different. I took a quick peek at what we saw last year and while the colouration is reminiscent of last year's, it differs greatly in the colour of the speckles, which are almost like the beard in a bearded iris in terms of their raised growth.
I hoped we'd see last year's surprise bloom again this year. It did, with some interesting differences, just take a look below. One of the first things that strikes you is that the ground colour of the petals is different between these two, the earlier one has a white colour, whereas last year's has a creamy colour to the petals.
Having had the opportunity now to do a bit of digging so to speak, I think that what we have here is a L. Henryi cultivar, likely the so-called 'White Henryi'. Take a look for instance at this catalogue listing here, about half way down the page, and see if you don't agree. Or look here, but the fascinating thing is that although there is great similarity to what we have shown here, ours did NOT have ANY fragrance at all, whereas the last listing gives it a '10' for fragrance; and they're the only ones to mention it, which makes me suspicious of the accuracy of the statement.
What's interesting is the fact that the one above is one stem of two which appear to be coming from the same bulb. This particular stem has a cluster of three and a single one above those, the other stem has only three buds, but those buds are SUBSTANTIALLY bigger than what we see above. You can actually see them, slightly out of focus, in the background of the shot above. When you see the buds in the flesh so to speak, you would notice that these bigger buds are showing a rather creamy colour to the outer petals. Obviously it's a little early to draw any conclusions about that until we actually see them open up, which should be within the week judging from how they are swelling and colouring. Rest assured that pictures will be added the day they open up.
This is what the buds on the other stem opened up like, they're nothing like the others at all. This is 'Shocking' - and shocking. The appearance of these two stems coming from the same bulb is an illusion. They were planted rather close to one another, with one higher in the ground than the other, as we found out in the fall exactly what caused this seeming anomoly. We'll post an update late fall/early winter when we discover it, stay tuned, it's only July 7th 2004:)
Outside of the obvious difference in size, rotation and colouration, the flowers on the 2 stems vary greatly in scent: 'Shocking' is very fragrant, the other has virtually no scent.
The fascinating thing about all this is that the two stems do look rather different. We will not get a definitive answer to this puzzling question however until we dig up the bulb(s) in the fall.
The bulbs were dug up Remembrance day and as I speculated originally, there were indeed two bulbs planted precariously close to one another, giving rise to the situation of two very different inflorenscenses almost appearing to come from seemingly the same bulb.