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

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!