Hot lilies, hold the mustard

Annika lily, The Lily Nook

‘Annika’, a new pollen-less Double Oriental lily.            Photo courtesy of The Lily Nook

Lilies are the glamazons of the flower world. But have you ever got up-close and personal with a gorgeous lily, taken a good whiff of that heady scent and then backed away only to have a friend say you look like you just gorfed down a ballpark dog and got mustard all over your face and clothes? Uh-huh. Same here. How do you avoid getting accidentally pollinated? There are two options.

A.) Avoid the anthers.

They’re those fuzzy nobbles that sit on the end of the filaments. Anthers and filaments combined make up a flower’s stamens. I could show you a botanical drawing but that wouldn’t be any fun. Instead, check out this $300 US (!?!?) T-shirt by hotter-than-hot British designer Christopher Kane. The much-ballyhooed anatomical flower prints in his Spring 2014 collection aren’t completely correct but he’s captured anthers quite nicely and who doesn’t love to check out a crazy-fine T-shirt.

B.) Start growing pollen-less lilies.

To get the scoop on the best choices, I reached out to Nigel Strohman of The Lily Nook in Neepawa, Manitoba. Nigel’s Dad, Barrie Strohman, is better known as the Lily King and the town of Neepawa has been dubbed (thanks to him) the Lily Capital of the World, reaffirmed annually at the local Lily Festival. The family-run business cultivates over 2,000 named varieties of lilies and distributes bulbs around the world.

Lilium tigrinum flore pleno

Lilium tigrinum flora pleno is a  favourite of The Lily Nooks’ Nigel Strohman. Experienced lily growers will love this one–it’s a unique mutant.  Each bloom has up to 36 spotted petals.                            Photo courtesy of The Lily Nook

In an email to me, Nigel pointed out that “pollen-less lilies have been around for many years but not many were commercially available until recently.” The Lily Nook has added a variety of new pollen-less lilies to their spring line-up, including double lilies (lilies with more than the usual six petals). For Southern Ontario gardeners, he wrote “The Asiatics will do well and multiply every year for you.” He also recommended the Double Orientals.

What does this all mean if you don’t know your Asiatic from your Oriental? No worries. Check out The Lily Nook’s lily growing guide for all the details. Here are the cheater’s notes:

  • Asiatic hybrid lilies are very hardy and easy to grow. They also multiply quickly and give you a long bloom time. If you’ve never grown lilies before, these are terrific plants to start. You can grow them in a flower bed or in a container.
  • Double Orientals (like ‘Annika’ shown at top left) have show-stopping blooms and a lush fragrance. They’re a little more challenging to grow if you live in the Prairies but our slightly milder Southern Ontario climate makes growing these plants very rewarding for the gardener with a little experience.

Of the 23 pollen-less Asiatics and three pollen-less Double Orientals offered at The Lily Nook this spring, here’s a sneak peek at some stand-out Asiatic lilies (i.e. easy to grow) Nigel revealed are making their debut this year:

6 thoughts on “Hot lilies, hold the mustard

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