Reconsidering The Lilies

Egg dyeing; a surfeit of candy; patent leather shoes; fancy dresses in pastel colors; white gloves, and hats decorated with straw flowers: such were the traditions of Easter during my childhood, and I loved them all.

Only one aspect of our celebrations held no appeal: the appearance of the ubiquitous Easter lily. Its image adorned greeting cards, church bulletins, and the Easter Seals we affixed to letters and bill payments, while live plants filled store aisles, appeared at the front door in the hands of well-meaning neighbors, and nearly outnumbered worshippers on Easter Sunday.

Everyone said they were beautiful. It’s true that they were pretty enough, but what others called their fragrance, I thought of as their odor. In my twelve-year-old opinion, eau de skunk would have been preferable.

I kept that opinion to myself until sixth grade, when my Methodist age-mates and I participated in the process of Confirmation: a way of acknowledging our readiness to participate in church life as adults. Most of the process has faded away, but I remember six weeks of classes, a small blue book, and plenty of memorization.

After years of memorizing muliplication tables and poetry in school, I wasn’t surprised by expectations that we’d memorize the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer. What startled me and caused no end of consternation was the expectation that I’d memorize a verse of two of scripture to recite in front of the congregation. 

After a friend put dibs on “Jesus wept” — the shortest verse in the English Bible — I was at a loss. Ever helpful, my mother suggested “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Under normal circumstances, it would have been a fine suggestion, but I wanted nothing to do with lilies. “No,” I said. “I’m not going to memorize that verse.”  Surprised by my refusal, she asked why the verse didn’t appeal. “Those flowers are awful,” I said. “They stink.”

Today, more than half a century later, I hold the same opinion. I’ve tried to overcome my aversion, but when I walk into a store packed with ‘fragrant’ Easter lilies, I’ve been known to turn and walk away.

Fortunately, my youthful conflation of Easter lilies with every other lily in the world slowly has eroded. I was surprised when I encountered the variety and beauty of daylilies, the gracefulness of water lilies, and the bold, striking form of cannas. But neither the waterlilies nor the cannas are true lilies, and the taxonomists have seen fit to move daylilies out of the Liliaceae and into the Hemerocallidaceae.

No matter. On the Texas coast, lilies abound: some native, some naturalized, and some cultivated. Whether this year’s conditions have been especially good, or whether I’m simply more adept at spotting them, lilies are appearing everywhere: elegant, ethereal, and compelling. This Traub’s rain lily, found at the edge of the prairie at Armand Bayou Nature Center, still was covered with dew.

rainlilywhiteTraub’s rain lily ~ Cooperia traubii (click to enlarge)

One rainy afternoon, this Crinum lily, native to coastal Texas, was beautifully complemented by a duckweed-covered pond.

crimumlilySwamp, or crinum lily ~ Crinum americanum (click to enlarge)

This delightful flower, also considered a rain lily because of its tendency to bloom after soaking rains, is native to Central America and Mexico, but it certainly seems to love Texas. When I found this single flower in the midst of gravel and mud, its deep, pure color was remarkable.

pinklilyRosepink zephyr lily  ~ Zephyranthes grandiflora (click to enlarge)

Not every white rain lily is a Texas native. This one, native to Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay, fooled me at first. Once the bud opens, it’s quite a large flower.  Some say the flowers are one to two inches in diameter, but those I found were three inches across, and sometimes a bit more.

whitelily2budWhite rain lily bud ~ Zephyranthes candida (click to enlarge)
whitelily2White rain lily ~ Zephyranthes candida (click to enlarge)

My favorite find — and the greatest mystery — was this gorgeous yellow lily tucked into the grass at a local nature center. It was the first I’d seen and, at the time, it was the only one I’d seen. The search for its identity was complicated. Eventually, I learned it was a Small’s rain lily: a hybrid that, along with Jones’s rain lily, is endemic to Texas.

smalliiSmall’s rain lily ~ Cooperia smallii (click to enlarge)

While I can’t personally guarantee the identification, the presence of the flower in several area locations, the high level of interest in it, and the fact that several sources have offered the same opinion seems to make the accuracy of the identification more likely.

yellowlilypairA pair of Small’s rain lilies (click to enlarge)
yellowlilypatch2A Small’s surprise (click to enlarge)

After a small colony appeared at the entrance to Armand Bayou Nature Center, someone ensured that mowers wouldn’t eliminate next season’s flowers. In the area that’s been staked off, seed pods are busy ripening. This time, they’ll have a chance.

yellowlilypatchProtecting the plot (click to enlarge)
yellowlilyseedpodSmall’s rain lily seed pod (click to enlarge)
yellowlilyseedpod2Mission accomplished (click to enlarge)

In the meantime, more rains have brought even more rain lilies to our area. In a lot that some would call vacant, yet another species is beginning to bloom. Smaller than some, more purely white than others, these have a fragrance that Jim Conrad, a Uvalde County naturalist, describes as being “like a strong, perfumed talc trying to smell like lilac.”

Standing in the midst of the colony, inhaling a fragrance lighter and more delicate than the breezes carrying it to the world, these ephemeral lilies bring joy. Opportunities to experience their beauty are uncommon and unpredictable, but whenever those opportunities arise, I never will turn: and I never will walk away.

drummondiibudA new generation of native lilies, springing up in autumn (click to enlarge)

 

Comments always are welcome.
The Easter lily photo is from Pinterest; click to be taken to the page. Otherwise, all photos are mine.

147 thoughts on “Reconsidering The Lilies

  1. We have day lilies each year, and they are wonderful to behold, but, since you mentioned fragrance, there is one that surpasses all others in my experience, and that is the lily-of-the-valley. I have yet to encounter another scent that moves me more than the one that this exquisite plant produces. Coty makes a perfume that matches it unbelievably well, called by its French name of the flower, Muguet de Bois, and if any woman in the room is wearing it, I hope there is a friend nearby to keep me in check.

    1. I thought about lily of the valley while I was writing this. We had small patches of it on either side of the front steps when I was a kid, under some ferns. I’m surprised that I don’t remember the scent. I suppose that’s partly because there were large bridal wreath bushes in the same area, and that’s also a strong, pleasant fragrance — one that I easily recall.

      I didn’t remember the perfume, but when I looked it up, I recognized the bottle. Someone in the family — probably my mother — clearly favored it. I’ll have to make a trip to the perfume counter this week to see if any memories are raised.

      What I do remember is one of my favorite songs from camp: “White Coral Bells.” I’ll bet you know it, too.

      1. Speaking of mothers, mine grew some lily-of-the-valley behind our house on Long Island. I had no concept back then of native versus non-native—the species is Eurasian—but a lily-of-the-valley by any origin would smell as sweet. I’ve always favored its scent.

        1. It’s interesting that such a diminuitive plant should have such a memorable scent — at least, for some people. I’m even more curious about it now. It will be fun to see if I recognize it when I find the perfume.

          I enjoyed this rather prim answer Mr. Smarty Plants gave to someone who was interested in moving lily-of-the-valley from Maryland to Texas.

          1. My guess is that the questioner meant the Eurasian lily-of-the-valley, which of course doesn’t appear in the NPIN database at all. As for the prim answer at the end, not for nothing does the name Smarty Plants mimic smarty pants.

  2. Interesting. I thought I was the only one that didn’t care for the smell of Easter lilies. We have a few native lilies but not many. My favorite was the tiger lilies that used to grow in the forest near my granny’s Tahoe cabin.
    I have a friend that takes gorgeous photos of the local flora and fauna, but he never identifies them. So a big thanks for putting the names up!!!

    1. No, you’re not alone, Brig. And now that you’ve acknowledged you’re less than enthusiastic about the Easter lilies, neither am I. As the expression has it, to each his or her own — we’ll just celebrate other flowers.

      I learned this week that East Texas also has what they call a pine lily. I’d never thought of lilies growing in the woods, but of course they do. When I think of Tahoe, I always think first of the lake, because that’s what’s most often photographed. It must be just as beautiful in the surrounding countryside.

      Although I’ve grown increasingly interested in our native plants, I’m often confused when I try to identify them. Still, I think it’s important to know what I’m posting — at least, to the best of my ability. I’m glad you enjoyed having the names available, too.

  3. Beautiful photographs that remind me of spring and early summer, not fall. (Maybe it’s a northern thing?) I used to work at a flower shop that was attached to 4 1/2 acres of greenhouses and for Easter 3 of those acres was filled up with Easter lilies that were shipped all over the states. I absolutely loved the way it smelled out there and I thank you for bringing that memory back. I would take my lunch break walking around the greenhouses.

    1. It’s geography as destiny, Jean! While you northerners have been easing into fall, we’ve only just broken the string of 90 degree days. Everything is still so green and growing, it’s hard to believe it’s October. Of course, we have wonderful crops of fall flowers, too — not only the lilies, but sunflowers, turk’s cap, mistflower, milkweed, frostflower, and on and on. I think the fall flowers are as pretty as those in spring.

      I love that you loved your lilies. We have a large operation west of Houston that grows poinsettias for Christmas. I’ve seen that, and I imagine your lily greenhouses were just as impressive. Isn’t it funny how scents stay with us? I mentioned to Gary, up above, that it’s spirea — bridal wreath — that I remember so clearly. When it comes to scent, taste, and touch, the real world has it all over the virtual: at least, in my opinion.

  4. Ah. scent is a very personal thing isn’t it? I can understand your dislike of a flower that others find delightful, because I cannot tolerate in the slightest the scent of the tuberose. Yet it is in great demand over here, particularly for wedding bouquets.
    Lovely photos. :-)

    1. I think I’ve seen the name ‘tuberose,’ but I had to look it up. I was surprised to see the flowers are related to agave. it wasn’t at all what I expected. I found three species that grow here, but they all are west and south — which explains why they favor your area. I must say, the flowers are beautiful. I can see why they’d be favored for bouquets. For one thing, they look fairly sturdy: as though they’d last through the ceremony.

      Preferences are so interesting. I’m sure there are genetic factors, as well as changes that come with age or exposure. I come from a long line of chocolate lovers, and yet everyone in the family seems to lose their taste for the stuff as they age. I’ve noticed a gradual decline in my own chocolate consumption — strange, since I surely can’t be getting old!

  5. Oh…these are so preferable to Easter lilies. Rain lilies. Who knew! I rather liked the swamp lily too. We seem to be limited to spring Asian lilies and the ubiquitous Day lilies in these parts. While not particularly fond of swamps, I could be persuaded to search these out. And even better, a colony at the entrance. Yeah, I could handle that.

    1. I didn’t know rain lilies until a few years ago, Janet. And honestly, I’m sure there were day lilies galore where I grew up in Iowa, but I don’t remember seeing them until I got to Texas. Perhaps one reason is that they’ve naturalized in some areas around me, and sometimes fill front yards or even ditches.

      The swamp lily name is a little misleading. It just means they like wet feet: much like spider lilies or iris. Think ‘flooded woodland’ and you’ll get the sense of it.The one up above was standing at the edge of a pond, in a place that was completely accessible and not at all spooky.

      Finding that colony at the entrance to the nature center was pure lagniappe. I can’t tell you how tickled I was when I saw that someone had put up those warning flags for the mowers.

      1. I’m with you re: warning sign for mowers. While we don’t have fresh-born lilies in our lawn, we do have clover and my son, who mows lawn, is perectly happy to avoid the clover when it’s in bloom.

  6. There are genetic components to our senses of taste and smell. The ability to smell and taste various compounds varies from person to person. There a genetic variant which confers the ability to taste a chemical found in broccoli which causes it to taste very bitter. One suspects “Dubbya” (George W. Bush) had that variant gene. Most of us don’t. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/11/brocoli-taste-obama-bush_n_3575686.html) One suspects that you are blessed (?) with the ability to smell a chemical component of the scent of Easter lilies which causes it to smell unpleasant to you.

    Personally, I can take them or leave them. What I do know is that if Easter lily pollen gets on cloth or carpet, it will stain. Whenever she receives lilies either potted or in a bouquet, my mom always pinches off the stamens and throws them out to keep the pollen from staining the carpet, etc.

    1. That’s quite interesting, about the genetic aspect of it all. I wonder if that’s why I’ve been so opposed to Brussels sprouts my whole life. Of course, I was voicing opposition even before tasting one of the darned things, but maybe it was the Brussels sprouts scent that got to me.

      I didn’t know that about the pollen, either. The first thing that came to mind was turmeric. Its color is very much like lily pollen, and the stains can be equally difficult to remove. That’s a smart move, getting rid of the pollen before it starts sneaking around the house. I wonder if the orange lily pollens stain, too? Maybe I’ll take one of my white rags from work over to Randall’s floral department and do a little experimenting.

    1. I’ve been surprised by the lily varieties too, Jim. Of course, I’ve tended to focus only on the natives, and flowers like the rosepink zephyr lily aren’t going to show up on the prairie. No matter: they’re as beautiful as our natives.

      I still haven’t seen the native copper lily. Steve Schwartzman comes across it and photographs it often, but I’m told it’s uncommon here on the coast. The fellow who’s made it a project to photograph every plant at the Armand Bayou Nature Center says that he’s lucky to find one or two blooming each year, and he prowls the property on a consistent basis. Still, I’ll keep looking. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of what I did find.

  7. LIke my buddy Brig, I, too, have never savored the smell of an Easter lily. Your photos and descriptions of the lilies which abide in Texas make me want to know more. And Brig, where was Granny’s Tahoe cabin? Maybe we met there…

    1. Cheri, We weren’t On the lake. it was on Pyramid Creek Rd, in Twin Bridges, hwy 50. Such a magical place to spend time as a kid, and to watch the re enactment of the wagon trains come down the hill.

  8. We have lots of lilies in our garden, including lily look a likes. Our garden right now has an amazing display of clivias. They have been outside all year and even survived a few frosts. A common name for those are Kaffir lily.
    I can’t say that the odour of lilies has even been noticed in my nostrils.
    One plant and it’s about the only one that I shun, and almost dislike, is the camellia.

    1. You’d best stay away from Alabama, Gerard. The camellia is their state flower, and I’m sure it — or its image — is everywhere. On the other hand, I’m willing to give them some credit for making the change to camellia. Their previous state flower was goldenrod. Even though it’s not the source of our sneezing and wheezing in the fall, many people don’t know that, and probably lobbied against it.

      I don’t think I’ve heard of the clivias. They are pretty flowers, and it’s interesting that they’re native to South Africa. They ought to do nicely here, too: except during the height of summer. Cape honeysuckle, one of my favorites, hails from that part of the world, and when it decides to bloom, it’s as pretty a plant as you could want.

  9. Gorgeous photos to go with your beautiful writing! I keep the Asiatic/Oriental lilies in my living room. These stunning flowers brighten up the room and soon after the sunset the burst of fragrance from them fills the entire room and your soul!

    1. Thank you, rethy. Your mention of the lilies that open after sunset reminds me of a large lily that was outside my house in Liberia. I can’t find any mention of it just now, but it bloomed once a year, for two or three nights: always on a full moon.

      Not only did it open so quickly it was possible to watch the entire process, the fragrance was heady and intense. It was sweeter than any flower I’ve known, before or after, and the memory is just as sweet.

    1. Now I have one more reason to come to New Zealand. It was love at first sight when I saw that flower. In size and color, it brings to mind our white prickly poppy, but the buttercup resemblance is clear, and the environment in which it grows? Just splendid. I love the thought of it spread across the side of an airplane, too. Clearly, it’s an iconic flower.

      (I couldn’t find anything related to it on the site you linked — http://www.nzflowers.com/members_page.asp?id=7 — which probably is my lack of searching skill, but I found another NZ link that shows the flower to fine effect.)

      Your Christmas lily reminds me of our more traditional Christmas plants: the amaryllis. Although she always protested, my mother clearly expected an amaryllis as a gift, and she never was disappointed. We always saved the bulbs, stored them, and then replanted. By the time it was over she had more potted amaryllis than anyone in six counties.

      1. Oops! I gave you an incorrect link but I am glad you found info on the Mt Cook lily elsewhere. The incorrect link as you may have discovered relates to lily bulb production in my province. What do you call a forest, or a collective of amaryllis bulbs? Your mother surely had one. I may have mentioned that my first encounter with an amaryllis was in the pages of The Magic Garden by Gene Stratton-Porter
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Stratton-Porter

        1. That site about bulb production was interesting on its own. As for a collective noun for my mothers bulbs, perhaps a ‘pottage’ would do. She constantly was sending me off to find her another pot!

          I just read about Stratton-Porter. I’d never heard of her. I had no idea Indiana had such delightful areas, either. To be frank, Indiana is a great blank spot on my mental map. I’m not sure I’ve ever set foot in the state — literally. I know I’ve crossed it on I-80, but that’s it. So much to explore, so little time.

    2. I looked up Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, one home to the non-lily lily, and found it’s due west of Christchurch but on the other side of the mountains. Too bad we didn’t make it there last year, but it can be a future destination.

      Where your “lily” is a buttercup, in Texas there’s a wildflower that goes the other way. The familiar pink evening primrose is indeed in the evening-primrose family, but native Texans confusingly call it a buttercup.

      1. I can’t remember hearing evening primrose called a buttercup. Of course, it may be that someone’s made reference to ‘buttercups’ in conversation, and the image that came to my mind was quite different than what they meant. Interesting.

        1. It seems to be strictly a native Texan thing. Someone I know who grew up in Texas calls the pink evening primroses buttercups. Apparently children would rub the centers of pink evening primroses on their noses so the pollen could turn them “buttery,” i.e. yellow.

        1. To add to the confusion, an evening primrose (Onagraceae) isn’t a primrose (Primulaceae). Some authors write evening-primrose with a hyphen to express the distinction from primroses. To further add to the confusion, the pink evening-primrose can open in the morning or the evening.

          1. All this reminds me of the days when I’d stand before a field of blooming ‘whatevers’ and sigh, “Such pretty flowers.” Now that I think of it, that’s still a perfectly acceptable response from time to time.

  10. I have some lilac colored rain lilies out back and when we have rain 2-3 days in a row, the speed those flowers come out is amazing. Wish the gladiolas could do that !!

    1. Lilac-colored rain lilies would be quite a sight. They do pop up quickly, don’t they? It’s especially fun to see them lining the roads around here. The natives aren’t at all picky about where they bloom; the first ones I saw were at the Galveston ferry landing, in the traffic median. Since we were sitting and waiting, there was time to get out and admire them.

      I just had a look at some images of the ‘glads,’ as my grandmother called them, and discovered they’re in the iris family. It seems they’re sometimes called ‘sword lilies.’ No wonder things get so confusing.

  11. Growing in vacant lots and in the midst of gravel, they certainly are hardy flowers. At Easter, my brother loads up the back of a truck with Easter lilies, and delivers one to every significant woman in his life. When I lived at Dad’s, he always brought one to me. For my money, true lily or not, the ubiquitous, old-fashioned, orange daylily rings my bell.

    “Jesus wept.” Did someone really choose that verse? :)

    1. Yes, indeed. One of the boys did choose that verse, and felt pretty smug about it. But honing the ability to live by the letter of the law seems natural to kids. It’s always such fun to confound adults.

      I’ve known for years your brother is a sweetie, and the thought of him with a truckload of lilies is just more proof. Of course, I’d prefer a basket of crabs, but I wouldn’t ever hurt his feelings by refusing a lily.

      The daylilies are pretty. A friend in the hill country has a portion of her garden devoted to them, and has been astonished, over about a five-year period, to see her orange lilies gradually turning to yellow. We’ve decided they must have started life as hybrids that are reclaiming their original identity, but neither of us is well-enough informed about such things to know for sure.

  12. That’s quite a lilyaceous post you’ve got here. Wet coastal Texas is noticeably more favorable to species of rain lilies and other lilies than the center of the state. Getting familiar with Armand Bayou is paying off.

    1. I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when I finally got an ID for that yellow lily, and had it independently confirmed. When the beribboned stakes showed up, I knew someone else’s interest matched my own, and it was just a matter of finding the right person.

      Discovering the Crinum lily was quite a pleasure, too. If I hadn’t been drawn to the pond’s edge by this fellow, I would have missed it.

      There are plenty of benefits to hanging around with plant people. One I hadn’t considered is being able to hear scientific names spoken aloud. I’ll have even more opportunity for that in the future, as a member of the brand new Clear Lake chapter of the Native Plant Society. I have to say, it’s been a bit of a shock to my system to be dumped into a world of calendars and meetings, but it’s well worth it.

      1. The plant at the bottom center of your linked picture struck me as an upturned bird’s foot.

        Yes, I can empathize about finally identifying that yellow lily. I’ve photographed plenty of things that I never could identify. Hanging around with native plant experts sure helps.

    1. It depends on which Texas you’re talking about, Melissa. This graphic of the vegetational regions of the state shows the variety. While we share many wildflowers with Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas, we have more than I realized that are unique to our area.

      I still remember my first flight into Houston. As we passed over the area northeast of the city, I thought to myself, “Where in the world did all those pine trees come from?” I’d imagined the whole of the state like the Panhandle. Since then, I’ve become more knowledgeable about how widely our regions differ from one another, but those differences are even more striking than I’d realized.

        1. There’s so much to see and enjoy here. If you’re ever able to get to Texas, it would be my pleasure to show you around. Even in my area, there’s a great mix of prairie, bayou, and coastal beaches. Sometimes, it’s hard to decide which direction to go!

          1. Oh, I can imagine. Just between you and me I think that would be more my cup of tea than the Austin area. Bayous and coastal beaches? Wonderful! Thank you so much for your offer to show me around. I will have to see if I can get away. I can be a bit of a clam, dug into my home :)

  13. I’m so glad that you learned the name of the lily in the field. I too, do not like Easter lilies. Not sure exactly why other than I think they are ugly and that I’m reminded of funerals and Easter Sunday when the altar was covered in potted Easter lilies.

    I was also confirmed in the Methodist church which was less than a quarter of a mile from our farm.

    By the way, most lily species are deadly to cats. I have no idea which are the safe ones.I never bring a lily into my house.

    1. It took a while to figure it out, Yvonne, but I’m pretty sure that if it isn’t Small’s rain lily, it’s a very close relative. Now all I need to do is find a copper lily.

      It’s interesting that you mention funerals. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen Easter lilies at a funeral, but I certainly have seen gladiolas, and to this day I’m not particularly fond of them, either. There are some garden varieties that are beautiful, but every time I see a bouquet of them, I’m back in the funeral parlor.

      I didn’t know that lilies are poisonous for cats, but I do know that about amaryllis. I had two lovely faux amaryllis for a few years, but they started looking a little ratty, and I got rid of them. Inside the house, I’m down to African violets and Christmas cactus. Dixie Rose doesn’t pay any attention to the cactus, and the African violets apparently won’t hurt her, if the tooth-marked and half-missing leaves are any indication.

  14. Well, Linda, I have a happy grin on my face because I, too, dislike Easter lilies — or, more specifically, the smell. They set me off every single time! Not opposed to their sight, just their smell. And the fact that cats and lilies are not to be together. So, if someone gives me one, it often goes into an area where I’m not or outside if the weather is good.

    Day lilies, outside, are another matter. As are tiger lilies and some of the other varieties. I’ve always liked those. So, I’m glad that you, too, have discovered some new favorites — your own lilies of the field!

    (And I loved your story about confirmation. You knew your mind, even then!)

    1. How we come by our preferences is such an interesting topic. Some plants I prefer not to be around simply because they make me sneeze. That’s rational, and understandable. But for a fragrance to be so unappealing? That’s just a mystery to me. I gave my mother a gardenia bush for a birthday once, and she said, “I hope we can leave it outdoors.” It turned out that I loved gardenias, and she hated them because of their smell. The good news is we can have our preferences: enjoying what we enjoy, and letting others enjoy what we don’t.

      Are there lilies along the ditch? Do they naturalize there? It seems to me that it might be too cold for them — perhaps they have to be taken up and stored over winter, like tulips and such. It’s been such a long time since I lived up there, I can’t remember how we used to do our planting of tulips and hyacinth. Different worlds, for sure.

      1. No lilies on the ditch like those you’ve shown. There are some flowers — I suspect someone planted them or it was just wild luck because there are a few bulb plants (grape hyacinth, daffs), seedum, that sort of thing. And wild ones. But I’ve never noticed lilies, even day lilies. We leave tulips out all winter — plant them in the fall and up they come. Same with hyacinth and daffs. My daylilies stay in year round and come back.

        I have tricky smelling. Can’t handle too musky or incensy or floral. Lavender is OK and citrus, cooking smells like cinnamon, etc., but lots of others set me off. I can’t even walk by the Yankee candle store.

        Oh well, that’s life, I guess. At least they’re pretty and we don’t have to stick our noses in!

  15. Speaking of flower snobbism (and this has little to do with your post), a lot of flowers get a bum rap.There are a lot of flower snobs and I’m guilty of that, too, to a small degree, but when people up north condemn lovely little annuals as a waste of time and money, that’s when my fists go up. I usually contain my anger by saying- “An annual is a perennial someplace warmer.” I hit them with that “warmer” comment to ensure they experience flashbacks of lovely tropical plants from their many anti-winter jaunts. So far no one has challenged that.

    Lily fragrance can indeed overwhelm and certain varieties can make me almost sick by their scent. But, I remember that they don’t exist to please lowly humans. They have more important things in mind.

    I confess to being a sometime Easter lily hater, but always catch myself now. It’s not the flower’s fault, of course. It’s our pitiful lack of imagination. And grocery stores never add anything to the beauty of a flower, so we must give the poor things a break. Does anyone or anything really look its best in a grocery store? Let’s go outside!

    1. Flower snobbery? That’s something that never had occurred to me. I know there are flowers that move in and out of fashion, especially for weddings and social events, but that’s a little different. And there certainly are people who walk right past the wildflowers on their way to the florist shop, not even seeing what’s around them. But that’s insensitivity as much as snobbery, although it’s true that free sunflowers aren’t always held in the same esteem as something whose cost you can brag about.

      I had to laugh at your comment about lack of imagination. It’s true that I can’t imagine bringing one home, and I can’t imagine spending any more time than necessary around them — so I guess it is lack of imagination on my part that keeps me and that flower apart. That’s all right. The people who like them can enjoy mine, while I’m out roaming the fields.

    1. They are beautiful, aren’t they? It’s fun finding them, and fun learning about them. Besides, flowers seem to make most people smile, and that’s a good thing.

  16. We have daylilies in our yard, but I’ve never detected much of a scent from them. They’re supposed to bloom all summer, but ours are more of the “flash in the pan” variety, blooming once, then merely taking up space. It’s disappointing, really.

    I appreciate your distaste for the pungent Easter lily. Personally, I’d prefer hyacinth … or even lilac … especially in a closed space like church, but nobody asked me. Still, that purple variety you’ve pictured is a lovely shade.

    What verse did you choose to recite before the congregation??

    1. I always bought my mother’s amaryllis from White Flower Farm. The quality of their plants was extraordinary, and a friend who buys bulbs from them says she has good luck, too. I found this page about growing daylilies on their site. It might have a tip or two that’s helpful.

      I’m with you about the lilacs. We had huge bushes when I was a kid, and I loved them. Not only is the flower beautiful, the scent is, too. I wish they grew down here, but we do have wisteria — another favorite. Some day, I need to make a trip north in spring, just to enjoy the flowers again.

      In a moment of enthusiasm, I actually chose two verses. I’d been given one of those little mustard seed necklaces as a gift, so I chose two verses from Matthew 13: “He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”

      1. Thanks for the link — I’ll check it out. Heading north in springtime is a good time to visit — not too hot, not too sticky (usually!) You chose an excellent verse, one of my favorites!!

  17. All the lilies are lovely, but the one which drives me up the wall is the star gazer lily. I begin coughing and can’t stop if it is anywhere in the house.
    When you mentioned the lilies of the field, I immediately thought of Sidney Poitier. What a lovely movie that was.

    I did relish the dress up part of Easter Sunday. New patent leather shoes, party dress and hat. That was the ruse to drive me to church.

    1. When I looked up the stargazer lily, I recognized it immediately; I just didn’t know its name. It is beautiful. It’s a shame it gives you such problems, since it’s the sort of flower I can imagine in your bouquets.

      You’re right about the film. I just watched the ending again, and my record’s intact. I’ve never been able to watch it without a few tears.

      I have to ask: did your hats have those little net veils, too? That was one of the best parts. You knew you were a big girl when your hat had a veil!

        1. It was delightful. I still have the first string of pearls I was given — maybe for my 16th birthday. My goodness. Those pearls and an angora sweater, and I was Audrey Hepburn.

  18. You certainly have some beautiful members of the lily family native to your area. It is one of my favorite families here too, but those here are so different from yours, which I would love to find!

    1. I remember seeing several lilies among your blog postings, Terry. When I pulled up this site, I saw a few of them there. The good news is that, despite the differences in our species, we both have beauty to enjoy. It really is fun to ‘compare and contrast’ what grows in our respective areas.

    1. I enjoy the buds, too. Lillies don’t expire quite as gracefully as some other plants, but it’s still interesting to watch — and I love the seed pods of the native Texas rain lilies. Their seeds are black and shiny, and packed into those little pods with such economy, it’s something to behold. Every day, another wonder!

  19. You’re not the only person bothered by the smell of Easter lilies. The small rural church I attended as a child always invited members to purchase Easter lilies to decorate the sanctuary on Easter Sunday. I have vague memories of the adults having a heated discussion one year about whether this practice should be discontinued. Some members were allergic to them and felt strongly they were too smelly.

    1. Now that you mention it, Sheryl, I wonder if our congregation didn’t do the same thing — purchase lilies in memory of or in honor of people. That would explain the number of plants. There certainly were far more of them in the sanctuary than the altar guild budget would allow.

      Anyone who thinks negotiating with a foreign country or passing a joint resolution of Congress is hard should spend some time in congregational or church council meetings. (City councils too, for that matter.) You can learn a lot about process, and about people that way: good lessons, for sure.

  20. We’ve always had patches of orange day-lilies growing around our house. A lot of the older people around here, call them “ditch lilies” which seems like a terrible name for a really nice flower. I looked it up, Hemerocallis fulva, and it’s not related to true lilies, but since it’s an attractive, hardy volunteer, maybe we’ll let it pass. I don’t like the smell of Easter lilies either — I’ve always associated them with funeral parlors, and don’t care for either of them – bad enough being dead without having to hang around some place smelling like expired carpet freshener. But the “rain lilies” look pretty nice!

    But the lily-of-the-valley or lilac scents, that some of my grandmothers’ generation like to douse themselves with pretty heavily, I actually kind of like – – maybe your eyes water a little, but it always seems like it’s the nice ladies who favor that stuff.

    1. I don’t know. When I was out roaming this spring, photographing iris and spider lilies and obedient plants and a multitude of other water-loving species, the working title for my post was ‘Ditch Diamonds.’ It still is, as a matter of fact. At this point, it may be next spring before I get around to posting it, but I’ve come to see ditches as interesting and honorable places. Granted, the occasional drunk driver ends up there, and boorish people toss their trash into them, but if you choose your ditch carefully, there can be great beauty to be found.

      You get bonus points for ‘expired carpet freshener.’ That’s as close to a true description for the Easter lily scent as any I’ve found. As for the rain lilies, they are nice. They pop up unexpectedly,wherever they please. They bloom, sway a bit in the breeze, and then depart: never lingering more than a few days. They’re such a now-you-see-them, now-you-don’t phenomenon, they seem truly magical.

      I didn’t realize until my own mother began growing increasingly fragrant that some of the excessive cologne-dousing that goes on is due to loss of the sense of smell. Because she couldn’t smell her perfume, she assumed no one else could, either. So, she’d add some more. We fixed that. She’d start with a spritz or two, and then ask me if she needed more. It worked.

  21. OK that is excellent, “interesting and honorable places.” Makes me think of that Garth Brooks song “Friends in Low Places,”
    When one of the villages around home started expanding and becoming more suburban, the developers were trying to evade the cost of putting in storm drains, and would always call their alternative “swales” which made me laugh. Just call a ditch, a ditch. I guess if I was selling the concept, I’d use “watercourse,” very upscale-sounding

    Well these were excellent flower photos, and I’ll ditch my preconceptions and look forward to an interesting essay.

    1. “Friends in low places” would make a great title for a piece about ditch-dwelling flora, too. I just laughed when I heard the first line of the song: “Blame it all on my roots.” There might be possibilities there for a video combining the song and photos of the flowers. If I ever do it, you’ll get credit for the idea.

      Oh, developers. Around here, any lot on any dredged canal is marketed as waterfront property. Of course, they tout Clear Lake as a recreational destination when it’s shallow, muddy, and filled with jet-skis, so there you are. Plenty of people are willing to buy, and I suppose that’s what counts.

    1. I’m glad to hear about your success with them. I tried to do my part about a month or so ago, collecting seeds from a colony on a plot of land that’s up for sale and regularly mowed.

      I have an acquaintance who’s in the process of re-establishing native species on some land she owns, and we sowed the seeds there. Whether they take hold is an open question, but there’s no doubt they have a better chance than they otherwise would.

      Thanks for stopping by, and for commenting. You’re always welcome here! ~ Linda

  22. I am glad you discovered these beauties, so different from the huge and garish florists’ flowers with their penetrating scent and yellow pollen dust which discolours everything it falls on for a very long time indeed.

    I enjoy small, wild lilies, although we have nowhere near as many as you. Our climate is just not suitable, they’d probably die in winter.

    As for ‘the lilies of the field’, well, they’d not have been so bad to remember in verse, but knowing only the brash varieties might well have put you off eulogising them.

    Have a lovely trip away.

    1. I found yet another species on the same day that I found many of these: a vibrant, red beauty that turned out to be the Oxblood lily (Rhodophiala bifida). It was so far past its prime, and tucked into such a difficult corner, I couldn’t get a decent photo, but you can see it here, in full bloom.

      You’ll smile at this. Armand Bayou Nature Center is quite diverse. There’s prairie, woodlands, a bayou and ponds. And, there are demonstration gardens of various sorts. I’ve signed up to be a volunteer there, and will be doing some work with both prairie and cultivated plants. After all these years of admiring your garden, and wishing I had one, I finally got smart and found a garden for myself. Be prepared for at least an occasional post chronicling my transformation into someone who knows what to do with mulch and a spade.

      I’ve only half-read this wonderful piece about English weather, but I’m just sure it will delight you. There’s art and poetry included — it’s not a meteorological treatise — and at least one mention of Virginia Woolfe. It’s a perfect read for a gloomy afternoon!

  23. What a great post Linda. I’ve been searching for the “true” Madonna Lilly, and now I wonder whether it really exists. At least, from what I’ve read, the Lilium candidum is the one that is more often shown in traditional paintings of the Virgin Mary. It has yellow stamens and is quite tall, and of course, is not native to the U.S.. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lilium_candidum)

    What’s happened with this Lily is that it’s been hybridized so much that I hope it still exists. So, as you well said, a “florist’s” Lily can lose its charm with naturalists who seek the real thing. The hybridization of Lilies was part of a post I wrote, and I exposed the true facts about how some individuals have gone to South America and have made millions producing hundreds of Lily strains and playing with mother nature.

    This post truly shows how one can rejoice in the simple Lilies that grow in the backyard or other strains that come from the Americas. It turns out that the collection on my blog are all “Amaryllidaceae”, and I’ve yet to find a true “Liliaceae”. “Tulips” are also from the “Liliaceae” family, yet they are all temperate climate flowers, I really don’t get to see at all.

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned the commenting problems on your blog, Maria. It would have been a shame for this one to be missed.

      In the process of writing this, I discovered just how many varieties have been developed, and was astonished by the whole thing. I also was astonished by the prices set for some bulbs, such as the Small’s rain lily. I found two bulbs for sale for ‘only’ $19.95. Gracious. But that was the low end of the price scale for some varieties. Clearly, there’s profit to be made providing novelty to gardeners.

      Of course, I learned that the Christmas amaryllis and the Easter lily represent more than just different gift options: that they’re different families. Another thing that led to great confusion was the name changes that have come over the years. The most amusing little fact I found is that ‘Cooperia’ may refer to a lily, or to a nematode. Oh, my. And, yes: the Cooperia drummondii — one of my favorite rain lilies — does belong in the Amaryllidaceae.

      1. That’s what I mean! All of those little rain lilies I’ve also shot are from the Amaryllidaceae family. ‘Lily’ has become the standard name for too many flowers resembling the original ones. Honestly, I’m still interested in photographing a “true” Madonna Lily, from a florist. (I don’t know if that’s the same as an Easter Lily to you). I tried doing it years ago and it was a hybrid which stunk like crazy and gave me an allergic reaction. I’m still curious to photograph true Madonna Lilies because of the beautiful paintings that exist of Virgin Mary. However, they will have to come from a florist.

        1. I called one of my Catholic friends and asked her about the lilies. She said, “Oh! You mean the Assumption lilies.” She sent me this link, that you might find useful. When I searched for Assumption lilies, there were lots of articles and images. It seems to resemble the images I’ve seen in paintings more than our standard Easter lily does, and it’s actually a white day lily — if I understand rightly.

          1. This is fascinating! I know the “Day Lily” for sure, but these Assumption Lilies are fascinating. Thanks for the link. I’m yet to find one of these varieties.

          2. I found this article, which explains what apparently happened to the Madonna Lily:
            (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/11730860/The-trouble-with-lilies-fabulous-but-fickle.html)

            Daylilies, on the other hand, are from the Hemerocallis genus, which is one of the most hybridized flowers (in addition to the “true” Lilies themselves). This is why they diverged from the Lilium genus and now form a new one: the Hemerocallis.

            Lilium candidum is an old world species. Here’s the Virgin with Lilium regis (which supposedly replaced L. candidum according to the article):
            (https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/05/bd/df/05bddf84c713dea2da522ed2f6bbf4e7.jpg), apparently this does have to do with the “Europeanized” version of L. candidum, and that’s why I shared this article with you.

            I don’t mean to say that something that has “Europeanized” is something that is wrong or not “true”, but history shows the “true” Madonna Lily (L. candidum) is an old world specimen, and that the word “lily” originally responds to the “Lilium” genus, and its hybridization has somewhat clouded its image.

  24. I share your aversion to lilies, in part because they cause me to sneeze. I recall serving a small congregation renting from an Anglican church. On Easter Sunday the host congregation had packed the nave with lilies, and so I took a double dose of allergy pills. My organist, who had a worse case than I, sprinted in and out for the hymns, and we spoke the rest of the liturgy! We have what we call ditch lilies, or tiger lilies. I remember my grandmother growing them so proudly. Around here they are everywhere in late August, but still so very beautiful. I see from the following that they are edible!
    http://www.theflowerexpert.com/content/aboutflowers/wildflowers/tiger-lily I wonder if I am allergic to their bulbs? Thanks for the reminder!

    1. As you might imagine, I love that story of you and your organist trying to cope with circumstances. It certainly encapsulates the absurdities that sometimes arise in the course of humans attempting to communicate the divine. As so often happens, one person’s potent symbol is another’s potent irritant.

      I’ve come to enjoy the daylilies, but the ones I see around here aren’t nearly as fancy as your tiger lilies. Until recently, the only association I had with tiger lilies was the old Woody Allen film, “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” I think I prefer the flowers. If you decide to mince up some bulbs in your scrambled eggs, be sure and let me know how it turns out!

  25. Beautiful photos. Lilies do have a particular smell. I understand. I don’t mind them (though Stargazers are my favorite as their color is bold and scent is minimal). For me, it’s the freesia. I don’t know why, but they always smelled like wet pepper to me, and it just wasn’t appealing. The fact that a single stem could perfume an entire room didn’t help!

    These days, I can handle most flower scents…. but keep me away from floral perfume. I’m so allergic!

    1. Ariel, I had to smile about your comment about the Stargazer lilies’ scent. Up the page a bit, Kayti mentioned that they’re her least favorite flower, because of their scent; she doesn’t even like to have them in her house.

      On the other hand, I love freesia. They’re generally inexpensive, they last a good while, and best of all, their scent seems light and pleasant to me. It seems that flowers are like books, or art. What appeals to one person displeases another. It’s the interaction between flower and person that tells the tale. Very interesting.

      Floral perfumes generally don’t bother me, but I’ll pass by any shop that thinks a good dose of potpourri is good for business. Even scented candles can be a bit much, unless they’re a more natural scent, like bayberry or vanilla. Especially with cheap candles, ‘better living through chemistry’ just doesn’t seem to apply.

  26. Wonderful photos, Linda. I’m glad you reconsidered lilies. As for the Easter lily, each year at Easter, for many years, I would buy my mother an Easter lily. I bought them before they bloomed so mom could watch them bloom. She loved their scent. After she was gone, I would weep each Easter as I walked past the Easter lily display at the supermarket. Aren’t we all so very different.

    1. For my mother, it was amaryllis at Christmas time. Like your mother, she enjoyed watching the process of growth, and watching the flowers open. I sometimes bought a different variety, so she could be surprised to find pink, or red-and-white striped, rather than pure red. Those little traditions take on such meaning. Even last Christmas, when I saw the flowers arriving in the stores, I thought to myself that I should get one for her a little early, before they were picked over. Then, I remembered.

      In the end, of course, it’s the gesture that counts, and the tradition. When we were kids, those dandelion or violet bouquets we offered conveyed the same love. Whether we ended up giving lilies or amaryllis didn’t make a bit of difference. Thanks for reminding me, Martha.

  27. I love the Crinum lillies – the botanic garden in Staten Island had some beautiful ones, shot with magenta…and when I was traveling in Florida I came across them in a ditch – magic! But the whole family is wonderful, and I appreciate how you’ve taken us through some of the local high points of it. I think the rain lilies must be fabulous in Texas. There’s a botanic garden near here that has some, just blooming now, in pink, and pretty as they are, they don’t look right in the perennial bed where they’re planted, surrounded by fall colors and flowers, and lots of things gone to seed. They should be surrounded by green, like yours.
    Your comments section is a read in itself – couldn’t get through it today – but what I did read is fascinating. Great conversations you get going!

    1. That’s right. “Bloom where you are planted” is fine, as far as it goes, but “bloom where you happen to find yourself” is a better mantra for some, including the rain lilies. I admire and enjoy gardens, but the delight of finding wildflowers in unexpected places is of a different order entirely.

      I’d seen precisely one native crinum lily before I found this one. At the time, I didn’t know what it was, but I certainly was pleased both to identify it and to find some nice specimens to photograph. The botanical garden in Staten Island seems such a treasure. I was so captivated by other things in your post (the ships!) I didn’t comment on that, but I admired it. There’s a similar place on the northern side of Houston I’ve never visited. The thought of taking on an hour or two of Houston traffic to get there has been the great dissuader, but I need to get over that — at least once.

      1. Traffic – that’s the problem! I spent so much time at that SI garden because it was ten minutes away. But you should go, at least once – I bet you will love it, and I’d love to hear about it.

        Finding wildflowers in unexpected places is the best!

  28. I’m with you on the Easter Lilies – we had a huge bed of them along the east side of our house. Easter morning brother and I had to stand among them for photos. It was always early so it was damp-to-wet in the flower bed ( But “don’t get your new shoes dirty”) the lilies powdered yellow on little white gloves. And the too many layers of those net petticoats were scratch and iritating. (“Hold still” – repeated endlessly by mother and brother). Besides, Easter Lilies always remind me of polio – those were scary times.

    When my mom retired she discovered some rain lilies in their wooded lot and would stake them each year – and we watched to see if and when they would poke their heads up. Pink or white natives, but never yellow ones. Those are so pretty!
    Rain lilies are almost like faerie folk – never know when they will show up. Always bring a smile.

    1. Say “Easter seals” to the young ones today, and they’d probably imagine some seals carrying Easter baskets filled with fish. Every time I read another article or thread about the horrors of vaccination, I remember what life was like before some of those vaccines were available. But I’ll save that for another time.

      We rarely did formal portraits at Easter. Instead, I’m left with one photo that shows me clutching a pink stuffed rabbit that’s nearly as tall as I am. I still remember sqealing when I found it — stuffed into the oven. I suspect my folks had as much fun hiding as I had finding.

      The yellow lilies aren’t exactly common around here, but once I began asking about them, I heard about scattered colonies that people have found. So far, I’ve seen them at the Dudley Nature Center and at two places at Armand Bayou, but I’ve heard reports of them at the San Jacinto monument and on the NASA prairie. I can’t help but wonder if they weren’t more common this year because of all the rain we’ve had. It certainly has slowed down some of the fall flowers, and kept things green. With the trees holding their leaves as they have, a good cold snap might give us some real color for once.

    1. One of my favorite writers, Annie Dillard, was pondering a mockingbird when she wrote these words, but I think they apply equally well to these ephemeral flowers: “Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there.”

      I think that’s one reason I’ve begun seeing so much more in the world around me since I began carrying a camera. The camera is teaching me to focus in more than one way — and I’m glad you enjoyed the results here.

  29. Yes, those lilies do stink! They were the main decoration for the Altar and I remember. Those were the days when Easter actually coincided with the blooming of Primroses, Daffodils and Narcissi. It’s a measure of how climate has changed that Daffodils are usually well over by the time we get to Easter these days.

    They are, however, very decorative plants. Some I like but some are almost too showy. My father was a Botanist in his spare time and Orchids were his favourite plant. Not the rather dramatic ones you buy in the Florist, but the small native species found in woods and meadows in the UK and also in places like Switzerland. I can’t pass a Vanilla orchid in Switzerland without crushing one to smell the Vanilla.

    1. It’s interesting to think back over variations in Easter weather over the years. I remember egg hunts in Iowa being cancelled because of snow, and years when flowers from the florist were the only option, because our spring flowers had come and gone.

      The fact that Easter’s a moveable feast plays a big role — the day can fall anywhere from March 22 (rare, more likely the 23) to April 25. To paraphrase the old song, what a difference a month can make!

      I remember you mentioning your father’s interest in botany. I didn’t know until recently that we have native orchids here in Texas. For years, I’d equated orchids with the ones that show up in our grocery stores around Mother’s Day, or appear in documentaries about faraway places. Then, I learned we have beauties like the ladies’ tresses. With luck, I’ll find some one day.

      As for Vanilla Orchids? The only reference I could find for them in Texas is the name of an upscale catering business in Austin. Apparently, Texans who favor the flowers have to order them, and grow them in pots.

      1. I heard a rumour that there was a proposal to fix the date of Easter because of the fact that its date, rather ridiculously, is determined by the moon I believe.
        If you follow this link (https://lensscaper.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/a-trip-to-trift/) you will find a Post including a number of Alpine flowers including an image of the Vanilla Orchid, Or if the link fails just enter the name in the search box in the Rt sidebar on my blog and you will get there easily. It’s only a few inches tall – unfussy and easily dismissed.

        1. Oh, I would hate to have the date of Easter changed. I like the moon’s role in it all: layers of tradition, including the pagan!

          The scenery in your post is wonderful, as are the flowers. We share some, like the chicory, and there are some Campanula species here. The vanilla orchid is so unusual — I’ve never seen anything like that.

          I did quite a bit of hiking when I lived in Salt Lake City, up in the Wasatch mountains. In the spring alpine meadows, there were flowers galore, but I haven’t a clue what they were. I wish I could go back now, and see them anew. There might be friends there!

  30. I love the easter lilies and have them growing here at the country house. didn’t have them in the city. we always took calla lilies to church on Easter morning. day lilies, yes, have a ton of those, no asian lilies though. the ox blood lilies just bloomed red red. and yes the rain lilies. I have a small cluster of the yellow small’s and little white ones are popping up over in the shop yard. I used to have some of the pink in the city but either they didn’t get moved or I have no idea where they are though on rare occasions I will see one here or there. and the crinums. I love the crinum lilies, have some of the swamp lily and red ones and pink ones.

    1. I saw another of the Small’s just today, at the UofH Clear Lake campus. It’s like learning a new word, and then hearing it everywhere. Those little yellow beauties seem to be everywhere, even if only singly, or in pairs.

      You certain have a wealth of lilies. I had no idea there’s such diversity of form, or that they’re so hardy. I read that some of them do well in pots, too, but I think I’ll stick with searching them out in the countryside. If I had a yard, it would be different, but I’d hate to confine them to a pot. You have the perfect setting for them.

      Have you ever done a casting of a lily? I can imagine a set of plaques — you could knock them out in your spare time!

  31. How I enjoyed all these lilies. I know exactly what you mean about the smell of Easter Lilies, I rather like the scent at first, and then suddenly reach a point where it becomes so intense it’s unbearable, I have a similar problem with jasmine. I am enjoying learning more about your native flora and fauna.xxx

    1. It’s much like spices, I think. A bit of nutmeg or clove can be perfect, but add too much, and it begins to overwhelm and destroy the dish. A whiff of potpourri can be very nice, but a shop filled with competing scents that drift out the front door can gag. I don’t know whether moderation in all things is good, but moderation in even the loveliest scent certainly is.

      Isn’t it fun to see the similarities and differences in our worlds? I’ve learned not to make the assumptions I used to make so easily. The best example that comes to mind is the robin. Our robin and yours both are lovely birds, but they’re not the same bird. Live and learn!

  32. Wonderful photos! I know what you mean about those Easter lilies. Far too strong a fragrance. We had fragrant lilies in our garden on Long Island, and that was nice, but bring them into the house, and oh, boy, too much! I love the lily pod photos.

    1. That’s why I can’t go into so many of those stores that deal in scented candles or potpourri. A whiff of fragrance can be lovely, but when it becomes as subtle as a club to the head: not so much.

      I’m fascinated by the seed pods. I didn’t catch any of these with seeds still present at the time, but I have this photo from Galveston taken some months ago. Isn’t it fun the way the seeds are packed in so efficiently?

        1. Isn’t that the truth. The business of packing is one reason I love road trips. There room for a little more chaos and disorganization in the trunk than with the airlines.

        1. I saw some photos posted of that place once. I can only imagine. i think they market in this area, too, but they’re probably in a mall, and I don’t do malls. I have found some nice soy candles that are made with natural fragrances, and they’re nice in winter.

  33. I had my first experience with the fragrance of a lily that I remember at church. The lilies always fill the church with this beautiful fragrance, not skunkish. I wonder if we have a different variety of the Easter Lily in Canada. Anyway, I loved the photographs of the other lilies, they are gorgeous!

    1. From your comment and others, I’ve come to think that it’s the space-flower ratio that makes the difference. Too many flowers in too small a space, and they become overwhelming. Too few, and the fragrance hardly is noticeable. Perhaps your chuch was wise enough to have just the right number of flowers for their space!

      I have a feeling that our Easter lilies probably were the same, but that’s only a hunch, based on the fact that most of them are supplied in pots, by growers.

      I’m glad you liked the rain lilies. To my mind, a scattering of wild lilies is more than equal to a thousand potted cultivars.

  34. Mary Beth grows a variety of lilies in the yard, most of which have a pleasing fragrance or odor. Odor isn’t always a bad thing. :) Your mention of Eau de Skunk reminded me of this fellow.

    I wonder what the evolutionary reason might be for a stinky lily. First thought would be the sort of pollinator they wish to attract.

    1. Speaking of stinky, the ne plus ultra would have to be the corpse flower: titum aram. As the article points out, it’s pretty cool that so many (seven!) bloomed at once this year. The article does make the point that the plant is pollinated by things that would be attracted to the ‘fragrance’ of rotting flesh, which pretty much proves your point.

  35. In the church of my childhood, it was calla lilies that appeared at Eastertime, so consistently that until I was an adult I thought they were Easter Lilies. I had grown to love them and have had callas in my yard ever since. Easter Lilies I haven’t ever been attracted to, and I can’t remember what they smell like…

    But the rain lilies you picture have captivated me! I’d never heard of them before – just their name makes me love them, and I think I will research whether they grow well here. Beautiful photos – Thank you!

    1. I think callas are one of the prettiest flowers there is. I have a wholly unsubstantiated belief that they’re more delicate than Easter lilies, which makes sense only because the commercially-available Easter lilies probably have been bred for longevity — if such a thing is possible.

      Do you know, I’d never seen a rain lily until perhaps three years ago. It was my interest in native Texas wildflowers that brought them to my attention. I saw them for years in photos, and still remember vividly the first time I saw them in real life. Now, I see them often. Sometimes there only are two or three — sometimes, there’s only one — but it’s as though I’ve developed an inner rain lily detector.

      If I happen across any more seeds this year, I’ll collect some for you.

  36. I’m so glad you’ve reconsidered the lilies! What a broad variety you’ve found right there in Texas. I didn’t know about rain lilies and love the delicate lines of each bloom. There was a variety of zephyranthes I tried to grow years ago, but they did not naturalize well here in our dry dry dryness.

    1. They are lovely, indeed. You might do a little more in-depth reading about their proclivities. They seem to wait out our droughts, and then appear after soaking rains, so they might work for you. Then again, part of the beauty of the natives is just that — what you have, we don’t, and vice-versa. I’m just pleased to be able to recognize them now, and have them to enjoy.

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