Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tiger and Water

Abiding by the thought that Mother Nature doesn't make mistakes with her color palette, I'm happy to make an exception to my mostly pastel flower garden.

This is my wild Tiger Lily. Yes, she's ORANGE. And she's in my garden. Me, the gardener who get annoyed when gold flowers are marked as yellow not orange. This orange lily has a sentimental hold on me though.
Every good flower has a story behind it and this is hers: My dad collected the originals of these tiger lilies in the mountains of Tehama county. One of my early memories is of these six-foot giants blooming in my parents' garden in the East Bay. My folks transplanted them to their next home where they awed passers-by in our front yard further inland for forty-six years. The Queen Mother brought some descendents with her when she moved to the Truckee Meadows where they now greet visitors at her front door. Mine are scattered in random places around our cottage and my sister has an amazing display in her backyard in Oregon.

My dad used to say they bloomed for the Fourth of July--true in California, but more like the Fourth plus a week here in Nevada. Usually anyway. This year they bloomed two weeks later than usual, which says something about our super-late frosts and recalcitrant spring.

As a kid, we loved to pick of these little bulblets which grow along the stem.  We also loved to pop fuchsia blossoms before they opened. (There are some things that are just irresistible to kids.)  At least we didn't blow dandelions puffs anywhere near the Queen Mother's garden.
Nowadays I grab these bulblets (they're extremely large this year), pop them into a ziploc until they chit, then find a place to plant them be it in a pot or in the ground where they flourish and get bigger every year.

Back to the pastels--Lilypad Pond hosted a record-breaking four waterlilies in bloom yesterday. I know it's not a lot, but Lilypad is a very petite pond. 
I think they look gorgeous after our thunderstorm.

This yellow gal is the shyest bloomer--those striped pads in the upper right corner belong to her.
Even a grey day and a little Picasa magic can't bring out her true yellowness, but she is colorful. You'll just have to take my word for it.

And then there are the tall phlox.
Do you see any pink flowers? 

Any merest hint of a tiny bud?
Me neither.  I saw lots of pink and white phlox blooming on our morning walk so I know it's time. Time for some tough love, that is.

Dear Phlox,

   This is your last chance.  Bloom, or else.  You've been warned.


Garden lovers need to swing by Jami's for beautiful flowers and bounteous veggies and tales of evil trespassers at the


  1. That is such a beautiful tiger lilly. when I saw it in my blogger dashboard I had to come look at in bigger on your blog. Beautiful!!!

  2. That is one beautiful flower! I love your story too! I have plants that I have carried from one yard to the next and I just appreciate the history of it all.

    And again, the water lilies are stunning!

    Neat that your sister lives in Oregon... does she blog?

  3. The orange tiger lily is just beautiful! As are the lovely pastel water lilies.

  4. I love the orange! I had an orange lily in my garden when I lived in Alberta that I was very fond of.

    Loving the pictures of the water lillies, too. Gorgeous.

    I am feeling sad for the phlox. Bloom phlox! Bloom!

  5. Love love lilies!! and those water lilies... *swoon* ;)

  6. The Tiger Lily was first described by the famous Swedish botanist Carl von Linne (Linnaeus) in 1753. Tiger Lily Flower