Flower Description: “Pentimento” is defined as “an alteration in a painting that is evidenced by the tracings of an earlier work—indicating that the artist changed his/her mind during composition.”
This is truly a unique and intriguing L. henryi or Aurelian type lily that was first “discovered” in the gardens of a Catholic Girls School in Beaverton, Oregon, was thought at the time to be a color variant of the species L. henryi and was marketed as such. In 1986, Len Sherwin, the grower of the bulbs we are offering this spring, purchased three specimens of this lily and grew it for many years in his northern Wyoming garden. When Bob visited the Wyoming plantings in late July of 2011, he could see that the flower size, shape, and markings of the lily were typical for the L. henryi v. citrinum he had received over two decades earlier from breeder friend Edward McRae - but the soft gold to near apricot shading was certainly not. Appreciating this altered composition, Len suggested the name ‘Pentimento’ to describe the unusual lily. Both Len and Dianna are visual artists; as such, they are familiar with evolving perspective during the composition of their artwork.
The photo of ‘Pentimento’ published on our web site in mid-August of 2011 quickly generated a great deal of interest among several long time, very “lily savvy” members of the North American Lily Society. The first to respond was Rimmer de Vires, who reminded Bob that in his spring of 1986 listing, B & D Lilies had offered this very lily as tissue culture bulblets from a bulb given him by David Brown, of Oregon. We had also offered bulblets of the more familiar canary yellow form of L. henryi, the variety citrinum, derived from specimens provided by Edward McRae, then head hybridizer for the old Oregon Bulb Farms. Unfortunately, our tissue culture stock of both varieties was lost to field flooding the following year, and this curious lily was "forgotten”. After spotting the lily once again in Wyoming, however, Bob realized that the 1986 listing as a color form of ‘citrinum’ was in error. His thirty plus years of working with species lilies had been rewarded!
“Found” in Beaverton, Oregon shortly after the death of Carlton Yerex (THE leading hybridizer of Aurelians and Trumpets in his day), evidence suggests that the lily was likely one of his hybrids Carlton, along with his close friend, Edgar Kline, and John Shaver, owner of Rex Lilies (both Kline and Shaver propagated and sold Carlton’s hybrids), all lived within 12 miles of the school. With no known records to document that the lily originated from China, the native lands of L. henryi, it seems reasonable that by applying the Theory of Occam’s Razor (“All things being equal—the simplest explanation is probably the correct one.”), this lily, most probably, is a forgotten Yerex hybrid. The fact that the lily has been basking in the high alpine desert sun of Wyoming for the past 20+ years and was not totally lost to the world is nothing short of a miracle. We know of no other ‘Yerex’ lily on the market today. And for me (Bob), as a grower—this is possibly the most historically important lily of my lifetime. It certainly equals the fame of ‘Star Gazer’ and ‘Casablanca’.
In 1991, Charlie Kroll mentioned this lily in an article he published in the North American Lily Society Yearbook. We are deeply indebted to Charlie for all the research material he has provided us. Also, as it was the earliest identification, we agree with him that the name ‘Beaverton’ needs to remain a part of this lily. Thus was born the name ‘Beaverton Pentimento’. A true reflection, we believe, of the lily’s altered canvas. Most importantly, however - ‘Beaverton Pentimento’ is a superb garden subject! Perfectly at home in the challenging environment of northern Wyoming’s Big Horn Basin, ‘Beaverton Pentimento’ reliably sends up sturdy 6 foot stems from established bulbs - even with a short 115 day growing season. Not only are its exotic flowers colorfast in the high heat and intense sunlight at an altitude of over 4,200 feet, it is important to note that while photographing this lily - ‘Beaverton Pentimento’ was regally indifferent to the swarms of (4 lb) mosquitoes that kept Bob wildly flapping his arms like an albatross trying to take flight!
We want to thank Rimmer who first spotted our web photo as being the lily Charlie had written about so many years earlier, as well as Charlie Kroell himself who sent us an extraordinarily thorough paper trail on the citrinum types from his original research. His keenly insightful comments on this lily were much appreciated. And a special thanks to Len Sherwin who unwittingly saved what we here at B & D consider to be one of the most significant recent “Finds” in the world of lilies - simply because he has loved this lily and cared for it since 1986. A serendipitous tribute to what has truly been a group effort.
In Wyoming, 'Beaverton Pentimento' is a late July flowering variety. In areas that actually have "spring", it could be early July.
Classification: Trumpet/Aurelian Hybrid Lily Bulb (USDA Zones 5-10, the colder climates of this range require winter mulching) This lily has been grown unmulched in a zone 4a environment with snow cover.
Stock #L6655 - 'Beaverton Pentimento' - Aurelian Hybrid Lily Bulb