Parting is such sweet sorry…

Parting is such sweet sorrow seemed an appropriate title from this post. A line from the play Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare; Juliet is saying good night to Romeo. Their sorrowful parting is also “sweet” because it makes them think about the next time they will see each other.

The following are some of the parting words from our President of the Mid America Regional Lily Society…

“It is with regret that I announce we have disbanded the Mid America Regional Lily Society. Our lily society’s membership and participation has been declining in recent years. At this point we are not a viable organization. On July 29, 2017 the society unanimously voted to disband.

MARLS Group photo from July 29,2017 meeting
MARLS Group photo from July 29,2017 meeting

We thank current members, past members, and the St. Louis community for their support and their interest in lilies over the past 35 years of our organization.

We also encourage anyone with interest in lilies to join the North American Lily Society. To those who grow lilies, please continue to share your knowledge and love of lilies through garden clubs, neighbors, and friends. We all can continue to be ambassadors of lily culture!”

To preserve the rich history of the Mid America Regional Lily Society and knowledge about Lilium in the Mid America Region of North America we have developed this ‘MARLS Memories’ blog for your viewing pleasure. This blog contains images and information from past Lily Shows, Events, Newsletters, Meeting Minutes…and much more information about our favorite flower ‘Lilium‘.

Lilium in St Louis

Recommended Lilium varieties for Brightside St Louis

Gardeners in the St. Louis area often ask for help in finding the best lilies to thrive in St. Louis. The cultivars below are generally available from lily growers in the United States and Europe, and they’ve been vetted by members of the Mid America Lily Society for being hardy in our St. Louis area.

Top 5 lily bulbs that thrive in St. Louis

“Regale” (any variety.) Species.
White center, looks like an Easter lily. Some varieties have dark pink on recurve. Blooms in June.

“Royal Sunset”  Longiflorum-Asiatic. 
Gold, orange and yellow. Blooms in June.

“Black Beauty”  Oriental-Trumpet.
 Deep red, white edges, small flowers. Blooms in July.

“Scheherazade” Oriental-Trumpet.
 Deep red centers, cream edges. Blooms in July.

“Silk Road” Oriental-Trumpet.
Red centers, white edges. Large flowers, heavy scent. Blooms in July.

Other bulbs that do well in St. Louis

“Tiger Babies” Asiatic.
Pale orange with spots, blooms in June.

“Iowa Rose” Asiatic.
Rose with spots, blooms in June.

“Sun Ray” Asiatic.
Yellow. Blooms in June.

“Kentucky” Longiflorum Asiatic.
Pale orange with spots, blooms in June.

“Red Alert” Longiflorum Asiatic.
Deep dark red, blooms in June.

“Serrada” Longiflorum Asiatic.
Bright yellow, blooms in June.

“Royal Trinity” Longiflorum Asiatic.
Peach, blooms in early June.

“Eyeliner” Longiflorum Asiatic.
Cream with purple edge, bloom in June.

“Anastasia” Oriental-Trumpet.
 Pink and white, large flowers, blooms in July. Scented.

“Robina” Oriental-Trumpet.
Dark pink, large flowers, blooms in July. Scented.

“Flashpoint”   Oriental-Trumpet.
Dark Red with white edges, large flowers. Scented.

“Nightflyer”  Asiatic.
 Dark purple, almost black. Blooms in June.

Most L. A. (Longiflorum-Asiatic) lilies are very reliable in St. Louis. They come in a wide range of colors, and they bloom early June – late June.

Many, but not all, Oriental-Trumpet lilies and Asiatic lilies do well in St. Louis. Hardiness depends on the cultivar.

–By Kim Peterson

Lilium Bulbs

Digging Lilium Bulbs

This week I’ve been digging up lilium bulbs. Some will be replanted in my gardens and some will go to other people.

These are Scheherazade Oriental Trumpet lilies. They’ve been in the same place for a decade. These bulbs produce flowers that range from 5 feet to 7 feet high.

The group on the left are oversize and in need of division. When they are this big and this close together, they compete for nutrients and are stunted in growth. I will pry apart the three bulbs on the left and re-plant them, giving them more space.

–By Kim Peterson

Parks Department

Progress at Jewel Box Lilium Planting

New Signs at Jewel Box Lilium Area

We are proud to unveil our new signs promoting Lilium, in the Lilium area at the Jewel Box. 

Signs promoting Lilium at the Jewel Box in Forest Park

Lilium Summer blooms are progressing

Our mid-tier blooms of ‘Royal Sunset’ an LA Lilium, and ‘Conca d’Or’ an Orienpet Lilium are blooming at the Jewel Box. 

Lilium Bloom has begun

Our first blooms, the Pixie Lilium, are blooming at the Jewel Box. 

A closer view of our Pixie blooms

Late Spring Progress

Lilium growth is on target and looking nice.

Alyssum is planted among the Lilium.

Fred and Jean at the Jewel Box planting site

Looking forward to the Summer Blooms!

Early Spring Progress 

Status simply put:  as planned!  
The daffodils are in striking peak bloom, blending our planting with others in the area. 

The bed itself looks great with only a few weeds starting. It has been visited recently by a deer, but the daffodils did their job, the beast just passed on. 
Our lilies are starting to show healthy growth peaking through the mulch.

Looking forward to their continued growth!


Sad News for MARLS Charter Member

'Yelloween' Lilium

Our MARLS founding member Fred Winterowd, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, August 12th.  Fred was our mentor, teacher, friend, and an outstanding person.  We will miss him greatly.  Please remember his wife Jean, and their family, in your prayers as they struggle with this tragic event. 

A memorial service will be held, in Fred’s honor, at 2:00pm on August 30, 2014 at New Horizons Presbyterian Church located at the following address;

    9424 Everman Dr., Overland MO 63114

Please send thoughts and tributes of Fred to Jean Winterowd at the following address;

   10099 Midland Blvd., St Louis, MO 63114

Lilium in St Louis

Best Lilies for St. Louis

It’s important to purchase lilies known to thrive in your area. St. Louis has hot, humid summers that are sometimes brutal. Not all lilies tolerate this heat. Fortunately, there are many kinds that will grow well in St. Louis’ climate! These varieties are strong growers in St. Louis:

Lilium ‘Royal Sunset’

Royal Sunset – a Longiflorum-Asiatic hybrid that begins blooming in mid June. It has many worthy qualities;
o  Thrives in full sun and good soil, increasing each year
o  Beautiful, complex colors of orange tipped peach flowers
o  10+ flowers per stem on handsome dark green foliage

Golden Splendor – Trumpet lily. Blooms in late June. Characteristics are;
o  Tall, striking accent planet, easy to grow
o  Bell shaped flowers of deep yellow

Scheherazade – Oriental-Trumpet lily, blooms in early July;
o  Red flowers with cream edges
o  Very tall, 6’ – 7’ when mature
o  Multiplies rapidly

Black Beauty – Oriental-Trumpet lily;
o  Small, deep red flowers with white edges, flowers face downward
o  Tall growth habit, 6’+ in good growing conditions
o  Late July bloomer

Lilium ‘Black Beauty’

Most sources of lily bulbs carry these wonderful varieties among hundreds of lily choices. If you are looking for a reliable lily to grace your garden each year, you can’t go wrong with these.

–by Kim Peterson 


Better Than Stargazer

Everyone loves Stargazer lilies with their showy red and white flowers that stand out on deep green stalks. And their fragrance is sublime! One Stargazer lily will perfume an entire house.

But Stargazer and other Oriental lilies do not thrive in hot St. Louis gardens. Their favored climate is their native Chinese mountains where bright sunshine and cool weather dominates. In our hot, humid summer climate, they die out quickly.

Lilium ‘Anastasia’

Lily breeders have chosen genes from Stargazer and other Oriental lilies to use in their breeding programs, capturing some of our favorite characteristics. Their hybrid lilies, Oriental-Trumpets, have the best of both lily divisions. Trumpet lilies tolerate and even thrive in St. Louis summers, returning to bloom year after year. This growth characteristic, combined with the color and fragrance of Oriental lilies, results in plants that are better than Stargazers for St. Louis gardens.

Varieties of Oriental-Trumpets (called Orienpets or OT’s in the lily trade) that have the wonderful red & white colors as well as noticeable fragrance are:

Anastasia –always at the top of the Popularity Poll of the North American Lily Society, this OT lily has big open flowers made up of white petals with red stripes. Reliable in St. Louis, it grows to 5’ tall, blooming in July.

Lilium ‘Flashpoint’

Flashpoint – a recent introduction to the OT group, this strong lily has been called “Stargazer on steroids!” Red and white flowers with strong scent bloom in July. Compact growth habit, sturdy stalks grow to 3’ to 4’ tall. A must have in any St. Louis garden.

Silk Road – Hall of Fame lily that grows reliably year after year. Up to 6’ tall in excellent growing conditions. White flowers with red throats demonstrate its Oriental heritage.  

While Stargazer lilies are great flowers, leave their growing to greenhouse experts or enjoy them as annuals with no expectation that they will thrive in upcoming years. Instead, St. Louis gardeners should look to wonderful OT lilies for perennial bloom.

–by Kim Peterson 


Exotic Dark Lilies

Dark plants have become popular in gardens. They are exotic and striking, providing great visual interest. Dark plants can be nearly black, but usually they are a form of very dark purple or deep red. When they are paired with companion plants in complimentary colors they make a showy grouping.

Lily breeders have produced dark cultivars of lilium as part of this trend. Look for these wonderful black cultivars and consider planting them in the pairings suggested below. All of these lilies require at least 6 hours of sun.

Dimension – Asiatic lily with wide, very dark purple petals, nearly black. While not as reliable as some Asiatic lilies, this handsome lily is the darkest lily on the market and is worth cultivating for that color! Match it up with golden garden plants such as golden spirea or Hakonochloa ‘All Gold’

Night Flyer Lilium
Lilium ‘Night Flyer’

Night Flyer– a recent introduction to the lily trade, delicate looking flowers have a delicate, flyaway look but are quite sturdy. Imagine this lily growing out of a clump of Ophiopogon planiscapus nigrescens (black monkey grass) The spidery blackness of the grass perfectly complements this witchy looking lily.

Lilium ‘Landini’

Landini – Asiatic near-black lily with slender petals. When paired with pink or red petunias, this black lily pops!

Olina – this striking lily is not all dark, it is red with a dark black center on star shaped flowers. This would look stunning in a container where Black Magic coleus provides mid-height interest and trailing chartreuse sweet potato vine sets off the black color of both.

Black plants joined with plants of contrasting color will give zing to your garden! Enjoy the new black lilies in your plantings.

 –by Kim Peterson 

Lilium Bulbs

Harvest time : What lurks under the soil?

Harvested Lilium Bulbs

Fall is the time to move and replant lily bulbs. When the green leaves have turned brown, the plant has completed growing the bulb for next year’s bloom. When lily plantings are crowded with many stems they need to be divided. Improve your lilies’ growing conditions by giving them more room to grow.

It can be fun to see what’s going on under the soil! Hardy fast growing lilies reproduce by growing bulblets off the main bulb. That’s like money in your pocket–you’ve got free lilies! Some lilies produce bulblets right away, the first year they are in the ground. Ones that I’ve had great success with are: ‘August Ruby’, ‘Tiger Babies’, and ‘Robinson’s Comet’, all Asiatics.

Oriental Trumpet hybrids (called “OT’s”) with fast bulblet increase are ‘Scheherazade’,  ‘Black Beauty’ and a recent introduction, ‘Flashpoint’. These are slower but still reliable at producing bulblets: ‘Silk Road’, ‘Boogie Woogie’ and ‘Touch’.

Mother Lilium BulbDiscovering the size of a mother bulb underground can be a big surprise. Bulbs that are 2” in diameter grow, in just a few years, to be 5” and more!  These monster bulbs produce flower stalks that are 7” tall, sometimes growing up to 9 feet. They hold 20 or more blooms. Some of these large bulbs “split” or grow into a divided bulb with 2 or 3 “noses.”  The divided bulbs are ready to separate and be replanted into a bigger space.  However, some fully mature lily bulbs don’t like being disturbed.  I’ve had the sad experience of seeing a large mother bulb disintegrate after being moved. I’ve also see a once grand plant protest its move and come up smaller for several years after a move. 

Generally, however, lily plants need to be divided for optimum health. Here are tips for re-planting:

•    Dig and loosen the soil around the planting hole
•    Add compost to the hole
•    Add granular fertilizer
•    Plant lilies 2’ – 3’ apart
•    Water in thoroughly to settle the dirt around the bulb

You will be rewarded with strong lilies next year.

–By Kim Peterson


The Magnificent Oriental Trumpets

The last group of lilies to bloom, those of Oriental and Trumpet parentage, are the loveliest. Hybrid crosses like this inherit the best traits from both types of lilies. Orientals give fabulous fragrance and a range of beautiful color to their offspring. Trumpets give the ability to withstand hot St. Louis summers and add height. These “OT” hybrids are wonderful for St. Louis gardens.

Most OT lilies are tall, growing from 4’ to 8’, so plant them in back of your garden or make them a focal point. Some OT lilies that thrive in this area are Silk Road, a red and white stunner that grows to be 6 feet tall. Two classic OT lilies, Black Beauty and Scheherazade, are among the last OTs to bloom. They both grow to be 7 ‘ tall. Robina is a deep lavender pink with huge flowers and strong scent–this lily always attracts attention! For bright color try Pizzazz or Red Dutch, both lilies that mix a strong yellow on petals with a red center.

OT lilies planted in rich, loose soil that get good nutrients and water will reward gardeners with bulb increase. One established plant will produce 2 to 6 bulblets each year, miniature plants that grow around the base of the mother plant. When these small plants get to be 2’ or so, lift them and separate, giving them their own space to grow tall.

–By Kim Peterson

The pictures below depict some of the Oriental Trumpets found blooming in member gardens this summer;

'Flashpoint' Lilium
‘Flashpoint’ Lilium

'Time Zone' Lilium
‘Time Zone’ Lilium

'Robina' Lilium
‘Robina’ Lilium

'Majesty' Lilium
‘Majesty’ Lilium

'Silk Road' Lilium
‘Silk Road’ Lilium