First mentions of a snow-white lily can be found in the treatises of the ancient Greeks. And its images on the frescoes in the first Christian churches speak for themselves about the awe which a lily aroused in our ancestors. Currently, the breeders and gardeners know about 110 varieties of lilies of different colors and the number of registered kinds is about 5000. And every year the number of hybrids is growing rapidly. So literally every amateur florist and even an allergic person can choose a lily to his taste!
For those who are -afraid- of strong fragrances
An intense pungent smell is an image that appears at the first mentioning of the lily. And it is with the scent of the flower that many disagreements about the "usefulness" of growing this flower on the plot are associated. Some gardeners, captivated by the smell of lilies, like them precisely for their strong and long-lasting fragrance.
Today, all these contradictions can be left in the past; after all during a long history of breeding lilies, the scientists have managed to grow varieties that suit every taste and color. And among them there are hybrids with a subtle scent and even completely without fragrance.
It is no wonder that the number of fans of lilies is growing by leaps and bounds. And this popularity originated many centuries ago.
From the snow-white lily to the flowers of the most fancy colors
The best-known kind of a lily – Lilium candidum – has been actively cultivated by the peoples of the Middle East even BC. It was of a bright white color and for this reason it has become widely known as a symbol of purity and innocence.
The archaeologists have often found the images of snow-white lilies at the excavations of Assyrian and Ancient Egyptian monuments dating back 3 thousand years BC. The Christian religion has called a snow-white lily the Madonna’s flower.
Even today the image of a Lilium candidum is associated with the sacred images of Virgin Mary and Archangel Gabriel. Lily has gotten its name, which in Greek means "white", as the only known representative of its kind. It was only in the 17th century that lilies of different colors became known in Europe, when a Canadian lily with yellow flowers with brown specks was brought to our continent in 1620. Since that time the recognition of new varieties of wild lilies has gone in full swing.
In 1629 the Europeans discovered five varieties of martagon lilies. By the beginning of the 18th century, when the naturalists began to go on their first expeditions to Asia and Siberia, the descriptions of new species of lilies began falling like from a horn of plenty. Lilium superbum, croceum, pumilum, chalcedonicum and pensylvanicum – in such circumstances the European botanists just could not help but express interest in breeding these flowers.
One of the most important figures in the history of formation of lily cultivars is a German naturalist Engelbert Kaempfer, who spent many years in Japan and gathered an impressive collection of Asian flowers there. He was the first European scientist to publish notes about lilies.
But, unfortunately, the botanists started deciphering his works only in the 20th century. A major contribution to the popularization of lilies was also introduced by the Swedish scientist Carl Peter Thunberg (1743-1828), who described about 990 kinds of wonderful flowers.
Nevertheless, the peak of activity in cultivation of lilies in Europe occurred only at the beginning of the 20th century, while in Japan the new varieties began to appear 200 years ago. If we talk about the main producers of lily hybrids today, these include the following countries: North America, Japan, Australia, the Netherlands and almost all European countries.
Fantastic floral dance
Modern classification distinguishes 9 sections of lily hybrids. There are some very popular varieties among them that are best suited for cultivation in the moderated climate.
These are the flowers of the Asiatic Group, Oriental hybrids, Trumpet lilies and interspecies hybrids.
One may call Asiatic lilies the most successful species for a "lazy gardener with allergies." With a barely perceptible fragrance, they are completely harmless for people suffering from hay fever. On the other hand, among the representatives of their genus the Asian lilies are distinguished by the high rates of resistance. They are not prone to diseases and tolerate winter cold well, so they can be grown in open ground.
Oriental hybrids are characterized by their sensual scent and large flowers, but their resistance to frost is very low. And therefore in Russia it is recommended to grow them either in closed greenhouses or as potted plants. The fans of strong fragrances will also be pleased with Trumpet lilies.
Interspecies hybrids of Asian lilies and Longiflorum lilies, as well as blends of Longiflorum with Oriental varieties and flowers obtained by crossing the Oriental and Trumpet lilies are also very popular now. The representatives of all these varieties are available in the Miracle Garden catalog.
The most famous varieties included in the International Lily Register are Golden Splendour, Robina and Triumphator. There are quite exclusive varieties such as Yellow Pixels, Olina or Magic Star in our collection. The abundance of colors, shapes, flagrances – these are perhaps the main driving factors that made a lily the queen of garden plots.
Explore a selection of Miracle Garden and you*ll see: it is simply impossible to pass by a beautiful lily!