Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

The statistic is that of all the Oriental lilies I have in my garden, including Orienpets, ninety-five percent of them have a mild to strong fragrance. I guess the one with the deepest scent is the L. auratum, followed perhaps by the Casa Blanca hybrid. The yellow trumpets are also quite powerful. Every year, however, I wait with great anticipation for the last to bloom, the L. speciosum rubrum , and every year I am disappointed.

Nothing. Yet, this is described by The Lily Garden as having a “spicy fragrance,” and by John Scheepers as “fragrant.” Old House Gardens is typically over the top, asking, “Is this what heaven smells like?” and then describing the scent as “lush, complex, and never too much.”

What in god’s name are these people talking about? Sucker that I am, I’ll probably order some s. rubrum bulbs from Old House this fall, though I’ve never been deceived by anything I’ve purchased from The Lily Garden. I have to give it one more shot though. They are very pretty.


firefly said...

I'm getting the same thing with the heirloom heliotrope ('Marine') I started from seed.

Seed catalog raved over it. I've stuck my nose right in the flowers but can't smell anything.

Maybe it's a "frequency" my nose isn't sensitive to?

Or maybe soil conditions affect the fragrance?

(Or maybe bees write their catalog copy ... ;-)

EAL said...

My white and blue heliotrope are both ravishingly fragrant. Try the white--it's more free-flowering too. And I think there is a lighter blue "garden heliotrope" that is more frgrant than the marine. However, you are correct in that this is a highly subjective matter.