You know how you see a photo of something in a plant catalog, and it calls out to you, and you resist because you know all those photos are doctored and photoshopped and that there’s just no way in hell what comes in the mail is going to wind up looking like the picture did, and you’ll just be disappointed and kick yourself for your naivete?
Um. Not always. I am here to say.
Last autumn, I saw a photo of a double tiger lily in a fall bulb catalog and laughed in delight. How incredibly cute! And pretty! And unlikely! I wasn’t a particular fan of tiger lilies, though I grow a lot of Asian and Oriental lilies. But these lovely, frilly, freckly orange lilies were so adorable that I went ahead and ordered three of them. They didn’t arrive in the fall, though. I’m not sure I even noticed, in my usual rush to get all the tulips and daffodils I’d ordered planted in places where there weren’t already tulips and daffodils lurking underground. Perhaps I just noticed their absence in the order and sniffed and said, “Hah! I knew that was too good to be true!”
But this spring, a small box arrived in the mail. Inside were my three double tiger lily bulbs. They did not look prepossessing. I planted them. Again, I forgot all about them. I even forgot when I planted them. And when three tall, very skinny lily stalks showed up a month or so ago, I wondered what they were.
THIS is what they were. Double tiger lilies. Aren’t they fantastic? Now I’m hoping the awful heat doesn’t blow them out of the water too soon. But even if it does, I’ll have this photo to remind me that sometimes, what comes in the mail is even better than advertised!