Well, another week has passed. To catch you up, it’s been raining here – a lot. Upon walking into the garden yesterday, I instantly sank to my ankles deep in heavy clay mud. Yuck! I’m not ever sure you could call it mud, honestly. If you’ve ever sank deep into slimy river silt, you know the feeling I’m talking about – it’s gross, y’all.
Anyway, before I get too distracted, I should focus. I know when I’m browsing the internet, I get so frustrated when I see a flower or vegetable that I absolutely love – but I can’t find the name of the variety anywhere. Ugh!
Since it’s been so hot here – in the 90s already, with some pretty ridiculous humidity, I decided to pick one of my favorite bulbs to put in the spotlight: Casablanca Lilies. They’re extremely easy to plant, as per package instructions, and they have an awesome vase life.
I take a lot of things into account when I’m deciding whether I want to keep a certain type of flower or toss it into the trash can. Casablancas are white oriental lilies, which means that some people may consider their lack of color to be rather bland. However, their structure, fragrance, and size give them a classy and sophisticated vibe that make me want to sing their praises to whomever will listen! These babies get fairly large, I’ve found, depending upon the age of your plants. I first planted these bulbs 4 years ago, in fact, they were one of the first flowers that I ever planted. The first year, they didn’t bloom. It may have been my inexperience, or that the bulbs I ordered were too small, but the second year, they became very rewarding. Now, blooms are nearly 8 inches across.
As with all lilies, it’s important to keep in mind that the foliage you leave on the plant is what fuels the bulb for the next season. Therefore, if you plan on cutting your flowers, be sure to leave enough foliage on the plant to ensure flowers for the next season. I find that leaving about 3/4th of the plant in the ground does the job for me, but it may differ depending on where you live and grow. I’m sure that some folks treat these beauties as annuals (for cutting), I opt for a shorter stem length and have successfully gotten yearly cuts from my plants. I find that sometimes it’s just best to experiment and see what happens.
To cut these lilies, I usually wait until the first buds have started to crack open and the rest have swelled and are showing white. I avoid buds that are still small, firm, and green as much as possible. These gals are so gorgeous, I like to display them in a vase of their own. No bells and whistles are needed here!
As with all lilies, I always detach the little brown parts (how’s that for scientific!). These little parts come off very easily with a gentle tug or a quick snip with scissors. Once your flowers open, these little brown parts will start to produce and drop pollen all over your gorgeous white flowers, table, clothes, etc. Nothing is more upsetting than a vase of white pollen stained oriental lilies! (This is another reason that it’s so important to harvest your lilies BEFORE they open outdoors! One badly timed rain storm means stained lilies! Yikes!)
Last, but not least, the main reason that you should totally grow these lilies is because they are so fragrant. I’m not joking. They are really stinky, in the best way possible. If you get headaches easily, perhaps these are best left in the garden (they’re perfect for a moon garden!). While I’m almost certain that I can’t describe the scent well enough to do it justice, there’s nothing I wish more than if some manufacturer were able to bottle the scent and make it into a perfume. I cut 4 stems for my table, about 12 flowers in all (it sounds greedy, I know!) and upon walking into the kitchen, the smell of lilies is so strong it nearly knocks me over, but there’s no way you’ll hear me complain about that! The entire house smells glorious, and every time I breathe deeply, I can’t help but smile.