Monday, August 24, 2015

One Surprising White Lily

Mysterious white lily in full bloom
There was a time when my garden contained several lilies, gaudy red ones,  merry yellow ones, and subdued pink ones, all the lilies blending in the garden so that some danced together and some were solo acts, each lily with a glory all its own,

Then came the Red Lily Beetles, chewing avariciously on leaf and bud alike, able to reduce a lily plant to rubbish right before my eyes. For two seasons, trying to combat the beetles by monitoring and picking, trying to combat them with soap and water concoctions, trying to combat them with horticultural soaps, I concluded that the beetles were an enemy I couldn't defeat.  With a tear I ceded the battleground --  I dug my lilies out, leaving only one particularly fragrant pink trumpet lily.  Surely I could manage the beast on one lonely lily!

Even though I had only to do away with four or five beetles in the ensuing year, I wanted a bigger victory.  "Could I,"  I wondered, "reduce the number of lily beetles even more?" In an attempt to fool the remaining beetles, I moved the pink lily away from its original site to a new location.

This summer the pink one bloomed gloriously in its new location.  AND in the former home of the pink lily, the stock of a new lily appeared. Guessing that I had left part of the pink lily when I moved it,  I let the new lily grow to see if it would produce a flower -- and flower it did.

The new lily was white, pure white --  perhaps a memory of some past ancestor of the pink cultivar.  It was taller than the pink lily, and sported eight flowers all perfectly formed.  The volunteer white lily was just as fragrant as the pink lily, a true companion, flowering at the same time. I let it stay.

Ah, but you're wondering about the Lily Beetles.  I  had one beetle on the white lily and one beetle on the relocated pink one -- all summer.  Have the beetles left my garden or has a predator appeared at last to keep the Lily Beetle in control?  I'll wait one more year and see. If the number of beetles is still down, I may consider planting more lilies.

For now, I'll treasure the serendipity of one surprising white lily.