"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Turk’s Cap (Martagon) Lilies (1 of 3)

From “Martagon Lily” in Lilies for English Gardens by Gertrude Jekyll:

“A very old garden flower, and, though not bright of colour, always a favourite; indeed one can scarcely think of an old English garden without the dull purple Martagon Lilies. The same distinctive form, also commonly known as turn-cap and turk’s-cap, runs through the allied Lilies of many countries, for we have it in the scarlet pomponium of northern Italy and the yellow Lily of the Pyrenees, in chalcedonicum of Greece and Asia Minor, in tenuifolium of Siberia, in superbum and Humboldtii of the United States; all these, with several others, belonging to the great Martagon group.”

From “Into the Garden” in Lilies by Naomi Slade:

“[Cultivated] plants move naturally by a process of diffusion, slowly, passed from individual to individual: but when politics gets involved, this can change dramatically. When great nations form alliances or expedience sees colonists, explorers, missionaries or collectors punch their way into new territories, almost anything that returns down the line is liable to be valued as a treasure or, at least, a fashionable novelty worth acquiring.

“In the sixteenth century, diplomatic amity broke out between the Holy Roman Empire of Western Europe, based in Vienna, and the Ottoman Empire centred in Constantinople, where Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq was ambassador between 1554 and 1562. Astonished by the gardens he found, he brought back many unusual bulbs, including Turkish native Lilium chalcedonicum. The petals of this variety curl backwards to create a rounded shape, a little like a turban, and it may be the flower that inspired the common name of ‘Turk’s cap lily’.”

Hello! and welcome back!

I always have to speculate a little when I try to identify specific lilies I find in my photographic wanderings at Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens — but I think I’m correct in referring to the lilies in this post (and the next two) as Turk’s Cap or Martagon lilies. “Turk’s Cap” is often used to describe lilies like these, regardless of the specific varieties, because of the distinct up-curved position of the flower petals that form a shape like a turban. Some folks refer to Tiger Lilies (such as those in my previous posts Small Batches of Tiger Lilies (1 of 2) and Small Batches of Tiger Lilies (2 of 2)) as “Turk’s Cap” — though that may be simply a popularized name-choice rather than one that’s botanically accurate. “Martagon” refers to several lily hybrids, of which the lilies in these photographs appear to have membership.

So anyway… I hope that clears things up… hahaha!

It was a bit of a challenge — and also fun, the kind of fun that required a lot of patience — to present these lilies on black backgrounds. The flower petals were easy, since their colors are richly saturated and my focus was sharp enough; but the filaments (the downward pointing green structures, to which the anthers are attached) were a lot harder because — since they were photographed in bright sunlight — they’re somewhat translucent and hard to distinguish from any green shapes behind them. I was never quite satisfied with the results — I mean, I could only poke at so many pixels before “that’s close enough” got stuck in my head — so I created a separate set of the same photos where each image is slightly blurred and softened, and precision didn’t matter as much.

I don’t think of the last seven photos as better or worse than the first seven: they’re just different, created using other options among the endless choices available in Lightroom and (in this case) the Nik Collection software. I typically use Nik Collection very minimally to whiten whites, add some vignetting, and tick-up colors and contrasts; but for these photos I also tried two other techniques. I took the original seven images and added a filter called “Duplex” that provides most of the soft and diffused effect, and one called “Glamour Glow” that further softens and brightens the image, glamorously.


Thanks for reading and taking a look!

Stargazer Lilies (Plus Four)

From Lilies by Naomi Slade:

“Certain lilies need no introduction and pretty, fragrant Star Gazer is a household name….

“The original Star Gazer lily was bred in California in the mid-1970s by Leslie Woodriff, a botanical magician and ‘the father of the Oriental hybrid lily’. Here he worked with species lilies with the aim of creating an upward-facing flower rather than a nodding one until a chance genetic mutation produced Star Gazer — and with this he struck gold.

“The flamboyant open flower is made up of petals that are hot pink, with a white picotee edge, crimson polka dots and a central stripe that slides into lime-green nectary guides at the heart of the flower. The central stamens are very prominent. The scent is powerful, strong and spicy; some love it, but others can find it completely overwhelming.”

From “Green River” by William Cullen Bryant in Three Centuries of American Poetry edited by Allen Mandelbaum and Robert D. Richardson:

I often come to this quiet place,
To breathe the airs that ruffle thy face,
And gaze upon thee in silent dream
For in thy lonely and lovely stream
An image of that calm life appears….


The flowers featured in the first eight photos below are some especially vibrant stargazer lilies that I found at Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens in July. There weren’t very many still in bloom — not so much because their bloom time had passed, but because of beatings they’d taken from multi-day torrential rains that are so much more frequent here in the southeast. Those still upright — as is the stargazer way — were in pretty good shape, so I cast them on black to hide the mass of broken stems that filled the backgrounds behind them.

The last four photos — the “plus four” of this post’s title — may be a white variation of the stargazer, but I’m not too sure… so I guess I’ll just call them Plus Four Lilies. Weird that I only ended out with four photos (a few more might have made it easier for me to identify them) but as I took these four shots I got distracted by some nearby tiger lilies dancing for my attention… and then forgot about these white ones. Sorry, Lilies!


Thanks for taking a look!

Small Batches of Tiger Lilies (2 of 2)

From Notes on Lilies and Their Culture (1879) by Alexander Wallace:

“[Lilium] includes some of the most remarkable species in the whole vegetable kingdom — species distinguished alike by the nobility and elegance of their port, their beauty, and the size and diversity of colour in their flowers. Amongst them are a few of the oldest denizens of our gardens…. The beauty of their flowers has attracted the attention of horticulturists to these plants for a good many years….”

“[The] number of species known during the first few years of the present century had almost doubled since Linnaeus wrote his last general treatise. The impetus had been given, and from that moment the results became more and more apparent. From Japan, a land which may be regarded as specially favoured in respect of these plants, an English seaman, Captain Kirkpatrick, who touched there in 1804, brought two new species, one of them the beautiful Tiger Lily… which by its hardihood and the brilliancy of its cinnabar-red blooms, spotted over with deep reddish brown, has become a common garden flower….”

“Can anything be more pure or graceful for harvest homes than the stately Tiger?”


This is the second of two posts with photos of tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium) from Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens. The first post is Small Batches of Tiger Lilies (1 of 2). As I mentioned in the previous post, some of these tigers were dancing when I took their pictures… can you see them moving?

Thanks for taking a look!

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