The number of occasions during the day when I feel I am starting to lose my marbles is increasing steadily, to a point where I genuinely wonder if senility might be imminent. I have always been a list-writer but have reached a stage where noting down ‘to dos’ has become a necessity rather than a safety net. Evernote, one of the only really useful apps I’ve ever dowloaded, has become my surrogate memory, holding everything from directions to Christmas card lists, online shopping receipts to restaurant bookings. Plant lists languish up there in Evernote’s ether, recording treasures I’ve bought or coveted in other people’s gardens. And it’s just as well.
I returned to London on Sunday night to discover two rectangular planters I thought I’d filled with pink lilies resplendent with gilt-edged, red blooms. I had convinced myself for 4 months that the bulbs I’d planted were Lilium speciosum var. rubrum and thoughtfully underplanted them with pink Gaura lindheimerii. I will never know if the two shades of pink would have been a marriage made in heaven, but I do now appreciate that gold, ruby-red and blush are not perfect bedfellows.
Evernote reveals the bulbs I’d bought were in fact Lilium ‘Scheherezade’. I suspect I’d selected them for our coastal garden where fiery colours reign supreme, but then wrongly located them in the flurry of spring bulb planting. Despite being incongruous where I’ve planted them, these lilies have been splendid from the moment they pushed through the ground: tall, strong and unsullied by snails and weevils. This is because Lilium ‘Scheherezade’ is a tetraploid ‘Orienpet’ hybrid, which basically means it’s a lily on steroids (‘Orienpet’ is a horrid blending of the two categories ‘Oriental’ and ‘Trumpet’). L. ‘Scheherezade’ was bred by LeVern Friemann in Washington, USA by crossing two equally beefed-up hybrids called L. ‘Thunderbolt’ and L. ‘Black Beauty’. Scheherezade’s Stallone-esque genes mean that she is capable of reaching 6ft with each stem carrying tens of flowers rather than the normal 6-8.
In their first year my lilies are already statuesque, if not quite the perfect shade. In comparison to the strength of the plants the fragrance emitted by the waxy flowers is surprisingly light and fresh – great for those who are not fans of more potent-smelling lilies. I can only compare the scent to a particularly delicate rose.
Come the end of the year I will need to decide whether to relocate the bulbs or work around their bold colouring. Whatever I decide, I had better note it down somewhere.
I’d love to hear if I’m the only one that forgets what I’ve planted where and what schoolboy / schoolgirl errors you’ve made in your garden this year.