If I hadn’t already put in a sizeable order for these with Brent & Becky’s, I wouldn’t be sharing the news of their new—and startling—availability. The picture in the B&B catalog isn’t the best I’ve seen of these—use Google or Flickr if you want to see them in their full glory. According to Michele, they flourish in the wild throughout her part of New York State, but I’ve never seen them around here. I have seen amazing images on various websites showing immense chandeliers of down-facing yellow-orange trumpets. The length of the flower tube, the flamboyantly outstretched petals, and the sheer number of blooms that each stately plant can hold—it all adds up to drool-worthy in my book.
That’s why—though there are plenty of native lilium—I’ve always focused on this one. Many gardeners grow the superbum (Turks cap), but that variety is too similar to the henryi, martagon, and other downward-facers I already have. I have a feeling that canadense will flourish in the same terroir as my martagons—dense, acidic, and slightly shaded. (Speaking of martagons, there seems to be a new, cool hybrid of these on offer every year—check it out.)
Canadense is rarely offered commercially (Old House Gardens had it once), though I have seen it in various online seed exchanges. It’s getting rarer as a wildflower, and is listed as endangered in a few states and in its namesake.
Writing for Dave’s Garden, Diana Wind lists canadense as one of her top ten hummingbird attracters. The buds and roots were eaten by North American Indians. And here’s my favorite Lilium canadense factoid. It has a Facebook page, which I just liked, for the heck of it. Except that Facebook apparently thinks it’s an animal, and the page offers very little credible information.
I can have this? Really? If so, then here are the ones I want next:
L. nepalense (green outside, deep purple outside)
L. majoense (white with purple spots)
L. taliense (white recurved with near-black spots)
L. papilliferum (dark purple, rare and difficult)
L. nielgherrense (failure guaranteed, only included for name)
With bizarre species like these to yearn for (and occasionally get), who needs orange double echinacea?