"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!

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!

Small Batches of Tiger Lilies (1 of 2)

From Bulbs and Tuberous-Rooted Plants: Their History, Description, Methods of Propagation and Complete Directions for their Successful Culture in the Garden, Dwelling and Greenhouse (1893) by C. L. Allen:

“[The Tiger Lily] is, when well grown, one of the most noble and showy of all the species, and well worthy a place in every collection. The type grows about four feet high, and, in good soil, will produce from ten to fifteen bright scarlet flowers, with numerous small black spots. Notwithstanding its stately form and gorgeous display, it is classed with weedy plants, because of its rapid increase and ease of cultivation; whereas, in gardens of any considerable extent, it should have a prominent place and be confined to it.”

From The Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson:

Blazing in gold and quenching in purple,
Leaping like leopards to the sky,
Then at the feet of the old horizon
Laying her spotted face, to die;
Stooping as low as the kitchen window,
Touching the roof and tinting the barn,
Kissing her bonnet to the meadow, —

And the juggler of day is gone!


It was an exceptionally breezy day when I took these photos of tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium) at Oakland Cemetery’s Gardens, but I did manage to freeze-frame enough of them to create two small batches of photos, for this post and the next one. As determined as they were to evade my camera, they were not successful.

It’s almost hard to believe that the unopened buds shown in the first two photos unfold to reveal the tiger lily’s large and complicated structure. The tiny spots throughout the flower petals — which, surprisingly, create some challenges when masking the images in Lightroom to remove the backgrounds — register to our eyes as black dots, but in the photo editor they are read as combinations of purple and magenta. By increasing the saturation on purple and magenta, you can get the dots to appear as if they have some bumpy texture — something that probably wouldn’t have been apparent to you, if I hadn’t just pointed it out.


Thanks for taking a look!

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