Bulbs from the western United States are the last to go dormant here at Telos. The lovely Brodiaeas are still in bloom, and the few lilies that I grow are at their peak. I had been put off growing lilies, since they have a reputation of being difficult and 'prone to virus'. Well, I think the 'prone to virus' reputation has come about from commercial strains of hybrid lilies which must be propagated vegetatively. Many bulbs in commerce that are by necessity propagated vegetatively are virus infested, since before tissue culture there was no way to eliminate virus once it had infected the plant. I believe great efforts are being made to clean up virus in commercial stocks of lilies.
The blessing of growing bulbs from seed is that they are virus-free, and unless they are exposed to other plants nearby with virus, they will stay healthy. I finally took the plunge and started with the easy Lilium pardalinum, often known as 'Tiger Lily' although, being spotted, it should be 'Leopard Lily'. this is a delightful addition to a shady garden, and is one of the easier ones I grow. Here it is to the left.
The beautiful yellow Lilium parryi (seen above to the right) is from the mountains of southern California where it grows in wet areas. It is as showy as any hybrid lily, and has a heavenly scent. This is another native lily that is not hard to grow.
Lilium rubescens is from the mountains of northern California where it grows in dry conditions, making it one of the more difficult native lilies to grown. It, too, is scented, and is much more attractive than my miserable picture.
Another orange flowered lily that grows locally is L. columbianum from the redwood forests. It grows on steep banks under redwood trees where it lines the highways in summer. Here it is to the left. With good drainage, and fairly cool conditions, this is a fairly easy lily.
I am growing several other native lilies such as L. washingtonianum and L. kelloggii, but haven't brought them to bloom yet. These two are very challenging to grown, and I would not recommend them for amateurs. L. kelloggi grows literally a few miles from my nursery, but grows in a very restricted area, and presumably is very picky about its growing conditions.
The lilies from dry regions are grown here at Telos in greenhouses to protect them from excessive rain in winter, but I can grow the other lilies outside where the main dangers to survival are slugs and deer. They need good drainage and light shade.