Lilies for cutting

Lilies are one of the most beautiful flowers for cutting. They are of impressive size, beautifully coloured and decorative, and possess an exotic air almost like that of the orchid; they flower for a long time and have only one small fault – their pollen is apt to stain skin and clothes.

They are best cut during the early morning, just as the first bud is opening, and will last for 14 days if immediately placed in water. Blooms will last longer and be able to absorb water more easily if the main stem is shortened a little each day; removal of fading and spent flowers is also beneficial. Only cut the minimum length of stem with as few leaves as possible to avoid weakening the bulb needlessly for the coming year.

Vases holding the stems of the trumpet Aurelian and some of the Davidii hybrids, which are 3 feet and often more in height, are best placed on the floor. If the stems are not long enough, they can be attached with a piece of wire to a cane or stick, but the end of the stem must reach below the water. An arrangement of a number of stems, with not too many flowers for each, is usually more attractive than a single, densely flowered stem. The light-yellow and copper-coloured Aurelian hybrids lend elegance to any arrangement; nearly as decorative are the trumpet lilies, with their dark stamens and bronze-flushed, white petals. The pale, cool colour of a stem of the white Madonna Lily or of a green-throated trumpet lily, emphasized perhaps with a leafy branch of copper beech or Japanese maple, strikes perfect harmony. Exotic, orchid-like beauty of shape, texture, and colour is achieved by displays ofL. henryi and L. speciosum varieties, and by the Oriental L. auratum and L. speciosum hybrids.

The short Hollandicum and Tigrinum hybrids look their best in sphere-shaped vases. B ut there are so many other alternatives: only two or three stems of the nodding Martagon-type lilies – Fiesta, Harlequin or Patterson hybrids – are sufficient to display their full, fresh, and beautifully gay colours. Probably the most elegant of all is a single stem of the red-flowered L. davidii var. willmottiae in a white porcelain vase. Another remarkably effective combination consists of a few white trumpet lilies mixed with light or dark-blue delphiniums.

Lilies for decoration

Lily blooms make superb table decorations. Red or white L. speciosum flowers placed in a fine glass vase or shallow bowl with asparagus fern look charming; so do the Aurelian hybrids, with their wide-open, star-shaped flowers of white, lemon-yellow, and copper.

Some of the most original and strikingly beautiful small displays are produced by following the Japanese flower-arranging art called ikebana. Although ikebana is full of symbolism and hidden values difficult for Western man to appreciate, many charming and graceful displays are easily arranged with only three raw materials: a porcelain container; a glass vase; and a stone or metal tray to hold either flowers, branches, climbers, creepers or leaves with bamboo, wood, or tree bark. These materials are capable of an infinite number of arrangements: L. auratum flowers arranged in a vase with Rex begonia leaves; the bloom of a Japanese Golden-Rayed Lily with a few rushes and one or two white carnations in a bamboo block; a copper plate covered with bronze leaves carrying a few Sunburst-type Aurelian flowers mounted on a piece of driftwood; a hosta leaf or two covering the bottom of a shallow bamboo woven basket holding a few white trumpet lilies and a branch of Cotoneaster horizontalis. A few simple materials, an artistic touch, deft hands and practice can produce handsome displays to the satisfaction of arranger and beholder alike. Lily arrangements may be used as decorations in shop-windows, on tables, in the hall or the living-room. (lj)

Corsage is the name of a Jan de Graaff lily which was developed, as the name implies, for use in flower sprays which ladies occasionally like to wear. It is a pink-tinged, ivory-white Turk’s Cap Ccrnuum hybrid which, fortunately for the dress of the lady wearing it, sheds no pollen.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.