A bright spot in the August garden…Philippine Lily
August 2, 2009
August is usually when I go on a "gardening vacation"...it's just so darn hot here! (Although we have been getting some unexpected and very welcome rain the last few days.) Because I'm just not going to do a whole lot of work out there right now, I plant a few perennials that I know will look great in the heat and drought, even if for just the month of August. My favorite "August only" bloomer is the Philippine Lily (Lilium formosanum). It looks just like an Easter lily and has the most wonderful fragrance. The bright white blooms look fantastic in the evening and at night, so plant in areas where you might sit outside at those times. Once established they don't take a lot of water (in fact they'll rot on you with too much), can be planted in full sun and look great with other late summer bloomers like salvias and Mexican petunias.They'll bloom for about three weeks, which may not seem long but is totally worth it. Plants usually start blooming the very end of July and bloom through mid-August, in the DFW area.
Philippine lilies are a bit obscure, so it can sometimes be difficult to find the tubers. Once you have them, they can be multiplied by division of the tubers or the many seed the plants produce. The typical variety grows large, up to about 5 or 6 feet tall. The one I have in my garden is a rare dwarf variety that gets about 3 to 3 1/2 feet tall only. I procured this through my plant geek network and haven't actually seen the dwarf readily available for sale many places. But I'm going to collect a bunch of seed from it in a few weeks and we'll start propagating it up at North Haven Gardens.