With all the talk of Genetically Modified Organisms on one end of the spectrum and Heirlooms vegetables on the other, good old-fashioned hybridization seems to be taking a back seat these days. It is, however, happening every day. As long as our desire for new and improved plant varieties continues, people will be smearing pollen from one plant onto the stigmas of another plant.
This week that Hybrid Vigor was never more evident to me. Until three weeks ago, I had never heard of Orienpet Lilies. Orienpets are crosses between Oriental lilies and Aurelian or trumpet lilies. Mostly American made, much of the hybridization started taking place in the late sixties and continues today.
I do love lilies; I just do not keep up with all the varieties available today. Their susceptibility to deer and various diseases have also discouraged me. Although the Orienpets are not resistant to deer damage, they are much hardier and tolerant of the weather of the Mid-west than their parents.
The sheer vigor of this one plant growing in my neighborhood is what grabbed my attention. The lush foliage, a stalk as big as a corn plant and big fat swelling buds demanded viewing. This is all before a single flower opened.
On my second visit, I met the owner of the property, Betty Davis. Betty welcomed me into her garden and explained the origins of the Orienpet lilies.
Since becoming aware of this type of lily, I have seen them in two other gardens. All were big and beautiful, however, Betty’s was by far the most robust.
I would like to thank Betty for allowing me to photograph her lily and sharing a few plants from her garden.