One of the most common questions we hear is “what’s new” followed by “what’s your favorite”? Our “favorites” are the lilies we grow, if we do not like it, we simply do not grow it. It is usually the new introductions that are thought of first when asked about favorites, but the 50 year garden veterans rate just as high in our hearts. For example, ‘Gold Eagle’, that was introduced in 1957 by Leslie Woodriff, still rates as one of the finest Aurelian types ever developed. Though some of the new golden yellow Orienpets are finding favor over ‘Gold Eagle’, in popularity, it is a variety that we will always have in our gardens and as such will continue to be a “favorite”.
Our lilies go through extensive trials not only on our own farm, but in a few select customers gardens as well. They are tested for fading in the hot eastern California sun, for winter tolerance in Wisconsin, and for hot, humid, Louisiana weather not to mention for fungus resistance here in our cold and damp Pacific Northwest.
The following photos show some of the varieties both in trials and in full propagation. Typically from seed to market, 8 to 10 years is common. Most of the varieties shown here are in their 2nd or 3rd. scaling with some slated for possible 2009 introduction and others as far off as 2012 to 2013. Along with these, there are several hundred more recent selections that over the years will be pared down to less than a dozen – the best of the best. These 40 or so “In the Works” are the final selections made from virtually thousands of seedlings.
We hope you enjoy this little glimpse of the future. As time permits, more selections will be added. Just this past year alone (2007) over 2 gigabytes of digital photos were taken of “potential” winners alone. It can be heartbreaking to have watched a “favorite” for 5 or 6 years to then see it start to decline and end up as food for farm animals, but the feelings of satisfaction when a new “favorite” is finally planted in your garden is great.