I’d never grown lilies until I moved to Maplehurst in Pennsylvania, but I first began to love them at a farmer’s market in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago.
There was a flower grower there who sold the strongly scented Stargazer lilies in summer. I was a graduate student on a tight budget, but I learned that for the price of one small bunch of lilies I could fill our apartment with perfume for a week.
Lily bulbs were almost the first thing I planted in the flower garden here. I have always planted mine in spring, but I hear that they do even better planted in fall. B&D Lilies is a great source for online ordering.
There are Asiatic lilies, Oriental lilies, various species lilies, and hybrid mixes. I have my favorites, but I also like planting a variety in order to have a long season of lily flowers. The Asiatic lilies bloom first and are usually without scent.
Eyeliner: I often find the Asiatic lilies are too brash and artificial looking for my taste, but ‘Eyeliner’ is a fun hybrid. It’s a pure white flower with a dark brown “eyeliner” edge on each petal.
Casa Blanca: A much-admired white, strongly scented Oriental lily.
Scheherazade: Tall, rich pink-red color, and dozens of blooms on a single stem. I love the petals that curl back so delicately.
Lilium species regale: Beautiful streaks of pink and white, lots of perfume, and it blooms between the Asiatics and the Orientals.