Monday, July 19, 2010

Lilies in Paradise





Okay, Okay...it's Parry's Lily (Lilium parryi) and not strictly speaking paradise, except that they were growing at Laporte Avenue Nursery...which for a plantsman like me IS paradise! I suspect the "Parry" is Charles Christopher Parry, the great botanist, doctor and publicist who spent summers in Grizzly Gulch below Grays Peak and is responsible for naming most of Denver's mountain backdrop after botanists...
He did an expedition through the Southwest when he discovered (and had named for him--by the botanists he named peaks for: a sort of quid pro quo) this gem of Southwestern lilies. I was so thrilled to see it blooming (around the 4th of July) at Laporte that I forgot to kneel down and sniff it. It is supposed to have a lemon fragrance...(did you ever notice how many yellow flowered plants have lemon fragrance just as violet flowered plants often have a grape like scent).
The fellow next to Karen is Wiert Nieumann, a wonderful horticulturist from Utrecht Botanic Gardens in Netherlands I had the pleasure of hosting for part of his stay in the US: he came for nearly a month--at the behest of NARGS which hosted him as a speaker at our annual conference. Wiert was director of Utrecht the last five years (he just retired) and during his 40 year tenure there created one of the world's finest rock gardens featuring many unique, modernistic techniques and recycled materials.
LaPorte is arguably the finest alpine nursery in the world: they grow literally thousands of plants and have stunning display gardens. Karen does much of the propagation and her partner, Kirk Fieseler, concentrates on bulbs, conifers and is busy building one of the most ambitious rock gardens in North America at the Gardens on Spring Creek.
If Paradise does not indeed have Parry's Lily and the likes of Laporte Avenue Nursery and Utrecht Botanic Gardens I will indeed be content in the other place, spending eternity poking around Hell's Canyon and introducing new delospermas to the underworld (their bright colors should cool down Hell appreciably).

3 comments:

  1. Indeed it was C.C. Parry, the 'King of Colorado Botany', for which this lily, the only lily native to Arizona, was named. Up to 6 feet tall or more, it is certainly fragrant and known from only two states and a total of only 6 to 7 populations. Unfortunately, it does not seem to appear in Laporte's catalog. Let us all hope that those pictured will supply seed for Karen to propagate.

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  2. I thought it looked a tad smallish: let's hope they have a dwarf form. I suspect they will have it coming out their ears before long (like the other lilies theyh produce)..we shall be jabbing elbows to get them!

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  3. One might check: http://www.cnplx.info/nplx/species?taxon=Lilium+parryi for possible seeds and/or plants. It is listed as a wetland or facultative wetland plant and most sources list it as a cold hardiness zone 7 or higher plant.

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