Confessions Of A Lily Freak

Pipestone Flyer



Okay, so in the last column I confessed to my love of gardening. It was a long time coming, but like a disease that has had time to brew up a hidden pustule of festering infectious purulence in my body, (lovely analogy huh?) when it broke, the fever raged. The only known cure is to continue gardening, with the gardens getting larger and more plentiful as the disease worsens. You know it's terminal when you start adding ponds.

In the early stages of my illness I was more than content with pretty little annuals. The pansies, nasturtiums, sweet peas and bachelor buttons of my youth. Then, as the disease started to get a foothold, I began checking out the perennials. Things like moneywort, clematis, peonies, and….God help me…..lilies. That's when I knew the sickness was going to have it's way with me and I would just have to learn to live with the symptoms.

My lily obsession started innocently enough, with my husband, (Hey….you notice this gardening thing always seems to start with him? See? See??? I knew it was somehow all his fault!!!), saying that one of his favourite flowers was a tiger lily. Okay. I knew what they looked like. They were handsome flowers. I could find a spot, (ooh, there's that pun again!), for them in my garden. Especially since I was just putting in my first raised bed and I didn't have anything in it yet. Tiger lilies here I come! 

I managed to find a pot of them, brought them home, and installed them right in the center of my new raised bed. Perfect! Front and center for my ‘husband's’ flower. I could arrange the rest of the bed around the tiger lily plant. Hmmmm….but wouldn't it look a little funny with only one lily plunked into the center of a long, narrow bed? Yes, yes it would I thought. Well in that case I'd better see what other colours lilies come in. I was pretty sure I'd be able to hunt down something other than orange. I think I'd seen a pink one, and didn't they use white ones in weddings and funeral arrangements and such? Yes, I'm sure I'd seen that before.

So you know the old saying, "Watch out, the first step is a doozy?" Hoo boy! I had NO IDEA lilies came in every color and configuration under the rainbow! There were pink ones, white ones, red ones, yellow ones, striped, painted, spotted, graduating colours that faded one into the other, and even some that looked like they'd had their edges dipped in paint! There were frilled ones, scented ones, down facing, tube shaped, minis, and some who's blossoms were bigger than my outstretched hand! By gum, there were lilies for every occasion, and better yet, for every area of my garden! 

That's it. I was finished. Right there and then I had found ‘my’ flower. I was a lily lover. Don't get me wrong, variety is the spice of life and I still fawn over all my beautiful blooms, cruising through the nurseries on a regular basis like some sort of drug addict looking for a new, intense ‘hit’ of colour, and spending WAY too much money every spring on annuals, (don't tell my husband!), but the lilies are my ‘babies’. 

I feel a little bit of guilt admitting that I have a favourite. Isn't gardening a bit like parenting where you are supposed to love all your kids equally? Oh well. I've often been told I need therapy, so this is me getting to the core of my feelings and being honest. I love lilies! They are my favourite! My name is Lorna, and I am a LILY FREAK! There. It's out. And yes, I do feel better now, thank you.

Also, just like babies, if you start them right, give them the correct food and water, and show them that you care about them (don't ask!), lilies will grow up big and strong. Sometimes a little TOO big and strong. I had no idea tiger lilies would get four feet high! I also didn't know they reseeded like nobodies business and would take over your entire garden if you let them! Oh well, there's always one problem child in the bunch. And yes, I think I do have enough to qualify as a ‘bunch’ now. At last count I had 17 varieties of lilies in my beds. And yes, ‘beds’ is now plural as well. Sigh. How come I think there may be a pond in my future?

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