Monday, 12 August 2013

Consider the Lilies how they grow....

Lilium Regale - this lily was sometimes chosen by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and many Victorian painters to feature in their paintings. The white lily being the symbol of purity, modesty, virginity, and innocence.
Convent Thoughts - Charles Allston Collins - Ashmolean Museum
Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose - by John Singer Sargent 1856 - 1925 - Tate Britain
I have shown this picture before but make no excuse for showing it again - it is lovely. Sargent began the painting here in the Cotswolds at Russell House, Broadway, the home of another painter F.D. Millet,  and shortly after his move to Britain from Paris.
The title of the painting comes from a song popular in the late 19th century called The Wreath by Joseph Mazzinghi. Sargent and his circle frequently sang around the piano whilst staying at the artists colony in Broadway; the refrain of the song asks the question "Have you seen my Flora pass this way?" to which the answer is "Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose".
The lilies 'heady' scent, particularly in the early evening, attracts insects. Here a hoverfly enjoys nectar. Many hoverflies mimic the colouration of bees and wasps. This enables them to avoid attack by predators who believe they might be able to sting.
Lilium Leichtlinii 
Lilium Davidii
Yellow trumpet lily - copper king
Red or scarlet lily beetle - Lilioceris lilii
Yes, I guess this little red lady has spotted me as she smartly heads off at a gallop down my lily. I can see that she has been busy eating the leaf and has nodoubt left several of her minute bright orange progeny underneath it too. For a few weeks in the summer the Red Lily Beetle is the bane of my life, eating the leaves and then eventually the stems whilst depositing her larvae on the underside of the leaves. The larvae also carry out a brilliant demolition job on the leaves before commencing on the stems. Naturally, very rapidly, they grow into fat pale orange grubs which metamorphose into, I must admit, rather beautiful Red Lily Beetles - thus the wheel keeps on turning again and again.
****Warning****
Avert your eyes now if you would rather not see what they get up to!!!
The final stages before another red lily beetle appears

61 comments:

  1. Lovely photos. I think lilies have more iconography attached to them than most flowers (except perhaps roses) I always love to see a border of tiger lilies.

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    1. When the lilies begin flowering I always feel a sadness that they are heralding the start of summers end. I think that I first fell in love with lilies following seeing them in paintings, in particular ones from the Italian Renaissance, and then wanted them in the garden.

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  2. What a beautiful garden you have Rosemary! Love lilies but haven't grown any for years now due to.... that beautiful but o so nasty Lily beetle. I know all about it. Thought it was a beautiful beetle when I first saw it but not anymore now. It also loves Fritillaria, but it's never such an infestation on those as it was once on the Lilies I grew. Now that I've seen your beautiful Lily pictures, who knows, maybe I will at some point forget about how terrible the Lilies looked here after being invaded by Lilybeetles and grow them again after all. Both paintings are wonderful again as well. Thanks for sharing on this cold and grey day.
    Marian

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    1. It doesn't seem to go on all the lilies Marian. I suppose that is because I have quite a few so it picks the ones that it likes most. For me that is the bright orange Davidii and the pink Martagon lily which I haven't shown here. You have to be quick, and look at the lilies first thing in the morning, mid-day and evening, and you know what you have to do - get rid of them. There are no signs of them at all at the moment, there time has come and gone this year, but I expect that there are plenty of orange grubs lurking in the soil ready to appear next year. By the way I grow my lilies in pots.

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  3. Your lilies look so lovely Rosemary and I can almost smell them from here. In our last garden I grew lilies and had lily beetle too. I felt so bad about squishing them, but it was the only way. In this garden lilies don't get far enough to attract beetles.. I have one small clump of the turks cap lily but the mice got the rest before they even cleared the ground. I will just have to enjoy yours!

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    1. Some of them are very near to where we sit in the evening, and the smell at that time is wonderful. I actually don't have the lilies in the borders, they are all in pots. Some of the bulbs are very expensive so that way I can keep an eye on them and move them to different spots in the garden if necessary.

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  4. Rosemary, Your lilies are beautiful & the photography is excellent, well done.....those lilies would make lovely wallpaper's for computers etc..

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    1. Thank you - please do grab an image of any of the lilies if you would like to have one.

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    2. Thank you, I just might do that :) then when I make a wallpaper I will show you, will be next month...

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  5. A lovely post about a beautiful flower. I went to a family party the weekend before last and we sat in the garden surrounded by scented lilies - wonderful! I only have a few day lilies here, but they are so reliable and look gorgeous every year. I'm sorry that The Red Beetle has found your own flowers, it's such a shame to see them destroyed.

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    1. Some of the lilies have grown so tall that when we were eating outside the other evening but seated beside them, H said that they looked just like chandeliers.

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  6. What a beautiful collection of lilies you have, Rosemary. We have never grown them but I planted a tiger lily from my parent's home last year, and have high hopes it will flower for me in spring. I've always wondered about that title 'Carnation, lily, lily, rose', and now I know. Thank you for telling us the story, and exciting that it occurred in the Cotswolds, too. It does add to the painting's appeal. I have always thought Convent Thoughts a striking and beautiful painting. I guess I'm a bit of a Pre-Raphaelite tragic!

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    1. There are so many lovely details in the Convent Thoughts painting - the passionflower she is holding, and the illuminated manuscript in the other hand. I also love all of the flowers - did you notice the tiger lilies next to the madonna lilies.

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  7. Ooh those nasty beetles! Is there anything you can use to deter them? I don't think they are in Australia. We are lucky to be free of a lot of plant pests and diseases, being so isolated x

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    1. They are recent arrivals here - I have no idea how they got to us as you never see them flying around. I am sure you can use your imagination has to how I have to get rid of them!!!

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  8. What a lovely August garden Rosemary. A wonderful variety of these most beautiful plants.
    Gorgeous photos.

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    1. They do bring lots of colour and interest into the garden Betty - thank you for your visit.

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  9. Wow what a great garden you have. And those lilies are so gorgeous.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    1. This summer has been good in the garden - the great thing is that we have had any rain in the middle of the night not during the day.

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  10. How beautiful! Your garden is wonderful. Sargent is one of my favorite artists, and I missed that painting the first time you posted it, so thank you for sharing it again. The story behind the title is very interesting - reminds me of Scarborough Fair!

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    1. The title of the painting is confusing, but once you know how it came about, it all makes much more sense. I can just imagine them all standing around the piano, drink in hand, and have a good old singsong.

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  11. Dear Rosemary, I love seeing glimpses of your garden. Would you give us a tour? Your garden must be at its zenith right now. Your lilies are spectacular. Do I see a fig tree in the background. If so, does it bear fruit?
    Your excellent photography is inspiring. ox, Gina

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    1. Dear Gina - it is a fig tree, and has lots of fruit on it. Some people make fig jam, but I rather like them stuffed with blue cheese, wrapped in pancetta, and then served with a green salad as a starter. There is a grape vine next to it, but sadly it has very few grapes this year.

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  12. There is so much that I enjoyed in this post! I love lilies and have a modest collection that I pamper here in our dry island garden. Luckily, the beetle hasn't found us yet, though it was the bane of my garden when we lived back east.
    Just reading the words 'Ashmolean' makes my heart skip. It is one of the places I long to visit. The painting is beautiful and gives such a sense of peace - something that I could use right about now.
    Carnation Lily, Lily Rose is one of my favourite paintings, and I wrote a blog post in June '12 about how life imitated art and that particular painting.
    Thank you for a post that has started me off with good thoughts on a Monday morning.

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    1. What a lovely comment to say that you have started the day with good thoughts. We both share a love of this painting, it has such a tranquil happiness to it.
      The Ashmolean is a place that I love to visit. It has so many outstanding objects, paintings etc - we usually try to pop in when we visit our granddaughter at the university.
      I will try and find the post you did showing Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose.

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  13. Your lilies are beautiful! And thank you for the information about the pretty little bug and the destruction she can cause. I will be looking out for her.

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    1. The lily beetle seems to operate in pockets, may be she doesn't live with you. She is a fairly recent arrival in this district which necessitates having to keep my eyes scanned during June and July - she seems to have gone on her way now, no doubt leaving plenty of fat grubs in the soil for next year.

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  14. Those Red Beetles are little monsters!! Unfortunately gardening is an ongoing battle with the creepies, why can't they just attack the weeds! Your lilies are beautiful. x

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    1. That is a good point Suzy - bugs that ate weeds would be really welcome here.

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  15. Your lilies are just stunning Rosemary. You have so many species.
    I have one..a white one, it gave me three heads this year..but bloomed well before yours..
    They grow easily..so i will plant more for next season.
    I dont think we have that red beatle here.. i havent seen it. My leaves were all healthy.
    must look it up!
    very interesting how the cycle goes around. Nature in itself is fascinating.
    Love the painting and the story behind it. One never tires of such beautiful art.
    Happy Monday Rosemary.
    val x

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    1. That don't go for all of the lilies if there are other types around that they prefer Val. For me they like my bright orange ones, and also a pink one that I have not shown. My white lily was also in flower a while ago, but I kept the photo back so that they could all perform together. Sadly only the orange one is still in full flower.

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  16. Sargent captured perfectly what I like to call "Pink Time." (I'm sorry you have to deal with the Red Lily Beetle! It seems unpleasant in every aspect!!)

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    1. I will remember 'pink time' Mark it is a lovely expression summing up that time in the evening. The Red Lily Beetle has departed now, but I know there are grubs around in the soil somewhere ready to appear next year.

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  17. What are youre lillies beautiful, but that red lily beetle is not so nice.
    I love the painting with the girls, the painting is glowing with light, verry nice.

    Greetings,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. It is a beautiful painting one that I am very fond of - of course it shows something that we would never allow today - little girls in flowing dresses walking around with flame lamps and lighting even more.

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  18. Rosemary, you have a lovely selection of lilies and the paintings are fantastic too. Thank you for sharing them with us. The lily beetle is such a menace and they move so fast when you see them. I had heard that once they arrive in your garden it is very difficult to get rid of them, do you know if that is the case?
    Sarah x

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    1. I can't see them going away Sarah, but I manage to keep on top of them by looking every morning, and evening during the time they are around. They have gone now, but their grubs will be in the soil.

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  19. So beautiful, Rosemary! You have just convinced me to plant more lilies in my garden beds. The tall ones with the white blooms would look so crisp in my white border. I might also try potting them like you did.

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    1. I think that perhaps lilies are best in pots Loi, then little rodents and things cant nibble the bulbs, and you can move them to where you want them. Regale lily and Madonna lily are the best if you want white.

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  20. A great post about lilies! Beautiful pictures of your lilies, some of them are growing about sky high in the pots. But the lily beetles......I have lilies too, and every day I try to catch beetles they let themselves fall quickly on the ground. So I cannot prevent that dirty larvaes are eating the leaves, brrrrr.

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    1. The Lily Beetles seem to have spreading to all countries - a few years ago you never heard about them. I check mine twice a day for the Beetles, and I am getting really expert at catching them. You just need to get a firm grip of them and then I am ashamed to say, squash them.
      Yes, the lilies have grown very tall and have been covered in flowers.

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  21. Your lilies are beautiful. Connecting them with the paintings is part of the joy of visiting with you. I do not have the red beetle yet but have a warren of cotton tail rabbits and noticed caterpillars on my snapdragons yesterday. Because of our constant rain my garden is quite a mess and now we are climbing into the high 90's and I am not getting outside except to mow.

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    1. This summer has been great in our garden, we have had lots of hot warm sun, and then some rain in the middle of the night. At first it did not rain for quite a few weeks, but the last three weeks a nice splash during the night has saved a lot of watering for us.

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  22. Dear Rosemary ,your garden looks so beautiful and your lilies lovely !I like all the colours ! But ,I am wondering how you could protect them from the red lily beetle....
    Does it appears every summer or it due to another reason ?
    Have a nice day !

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    1. Dear Olympia - the beetles only make a beeline for two of my lilies, and I try to squash them before they lay their larvae. On the whole I succeed, but if a I go away then they have a field day. Any grubs that escape live in the soil until next year.

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  23. Thank you so much for sharing your spectacular lilies Rosemary and that lovely painting which shall always remind me if you. We don't grow any lilies mainly because those naughty critters munch all the buds before they open. I garden organically and squashing them makes me go all girly, so I reluctantly gave up but seeing your images is making me yearn for some Lilium martagon again!

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    1. Dear Paul - most of my lilies are free of Beetle, it seems to be the orange Davidii and the Martagon lily that they like. My lilies are in pots so as I remove the Beetle I drop it on the stone paving, then it is very easily dealt with by my foot!!! If they are in the borders the task is much more difficult. Give the lilies a go in pots it is much easier. By the way I have never had my buds munched.

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  24. You have a lovely garden Rosemary. Your lilies have bloomed magnificently. The painting is amazing. Even the St. Anthony of Padua statue carries one stem of Lily as a symbol of purity. The Lily have been used many times in religious symbolism.

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    1. During the Renaissance the lily was frequently shown in religious paintings and as you mention on statues too. The ordinary man during that period understood and knew the significance of flowers in paintings and what they symbolised.
      I wrote a small post about flowers in paintings which you might be interested to see.
      http://wherefivevalleysmeet.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/signs-and-symbols-in-art-no2.html

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  25. Beautiful photos Rosemary, and wonderful close ups of the bane of your life bugs. I have a couple of beautiful lilies in my Hebden Bridge Garden....self seeded, orange and glorious. I also visited the botanic gardens at Durham University a few days ago, and their lilies are looking particularly spectacular at the moment. Jx

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    1. I don't think that lily beetle is all over the country and there only certain lilies that they like. If you have the orange day lilies then I think the beetles do not like them. For me it is my orange turks cap style lily and pink martagon lily which is also turks cap style that they love.

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  26. Your lilies are sumptuous, Rosemary! I swear I could smell the fragrance through the computer, your photos are so beautiful and detailed. The close ups are wonderful! Love that painting, love the pre-Raphaelites. (So sorry that the beetle is trying to ruin such incredible beauty. Fortunately we don't have that here.)

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    1. The beetle is a recent invader to this area, but it is here to stay - keeping a watch out is the key to keeping the lilies safe. Thank you for your kind comment Georgianna.

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  27. Lovely lilies. Grubs not so great...

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    1. The beetles are quite attractive but I agree about the grubs!!!

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  28. Dear Rosemary,this is a great post!!!
    Wonderful pictures and macro shots!!
    Your garden is like heaven!!!
    Your lillies look so preety!!!Nice colours!!
    Have a lovely day!!
    Dimi...

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    1. Thank you Dimi - I love the lilies at this time of year, but soon they will be completely over.

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  29. Asiatic lilies grew like weeds in my prairie garden. In fact their rampant nature initiated a vague annoyance on my part and I began to lose my enjoyement of them. The regal lily on the other hand I will be planting for the first time in my temperate garden. So serene and graceful, much more suited to my nature.

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    1. I must admit that my preference is for the trumpet or turks cap lilies - I feel that they add a little bit of the 'exotic' to the garden.

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  30. Your lilies look beautiful and a rewarding plant to grow if they stay healthy. My daughter and I have been discussing the question of whether to grow them or not. I've always been put off buying any lily plants because of the thought that they might be destroyed by those beetles. We did buy a couple of very small plants from the open garden plant sale we visited earlier in the year and it will be interesting to see how they develop.

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    1. Dear Linda - to date the beetles have not actually destroyed any of the lilies, I keep a watchful eye on them. They do not go for all of the lilies, but are most partial to the orange turks cap shown, and a pink martagon lily also like a turks cap not shown. They seem to leave the rest alone.

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