The summer in lilies



It began in late June and I am hoping that it will last through late August. I posted about my martagon lilies in early July, but they had been blooming for a week or better. Now I am seeing the final lilies of the season-speciosum rubrum and speciosum album (both shown here)-begin to open.

If I had better luck with Asiatics, I might start up a bit early and it would be more of a three-month display. As it is, first we have the martagons, then the trumpets, then the orienpets, then the hybrids, then the speciosum. And sometimes they defy precedence, and bloom simultaneously, though the species will generally adhere strictly to a set schedule.

As I don’t bother much with early spring perennials (that is changing) lilies have always been the way I mark the days in the summer garden. As long as one of them is in bloom, I don’t have that back-to-school feeling.


Old House Gardens and The Lily Garden promise September bloom times for some of these, but it has never happened for me. And Old House perjures themselves outrageously in saying that speciosum rubrum is one of the most fragrant. Not yet it isn’t anyway.

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Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. I ordered my first lilies from Old House! Black Beauty and Speciosum Rubrum…I’m hoping they fill in my mid to late Summer gap. However, I keep being warned about the “Lily Leafeater Bug.” Does anyone know anything about this?

  2. Our lilies, we have pretty much what you have, have been spectacular this year. The two you’ve posted here are absolutely gorgeous.

    I agree with you about that “back- to-school feeling” after lilies are done. I have two, one going into eighth grade, the other a tenth grader.

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