Edith Cecilia asiatic lilyIn the early 1950's I started hybridizing lilies with a limited number of Preston Hybrids, and Skinner's Maxwell and Scottiae and was fortunate to have a few of the better varieties for crossing, such as, Sovereign, Typhoon, Corsair and Phyllis Cox. The main seed varieties were Coronation, Edna Keen, Sovereign and Maxwell. From crossing these back and forth and as they were simple hybrids, a good amount of seed was secured from which was raised two or three thousand bulbs which were planted out thickly in long rows. The results as could be expected were satisfactory but not spectacular!

Ten yellow seedlings from Coronation were numbered (this is all there was of this colour) and they varied from pale yellow to deep golden with no two flowers or spikes exactly alike. Only one was named - Goldfind. Another golden orange was named Spotted Gold. One of these and a Sovereign seedling were sent to a nursery in the USA some years ago and are still listed.

Sovereign has given outstanding yellow seedlings, but some are prone to die. There were 10 yellow Sovereign seedlings numbered and three were named and another should have been as it was very disease resistant and comes up year after year without any attention. The ones named were Citrus Pride, Lemon Lode, and Lemon Jade. Three orange seedlings were named because of the brightness and size of spike - Grandstand, Orange Flare, and Evening Star. A good copper bronze seedling showed up with exceptionally heavy substance and was named Copperface.

Edna Keen gave a multiplicity of shades and facing in all directions, but my records show that only two were named - Tanglow and Radiant Glow; the latter proved to be the keynote in crossing with Edith Cecilia.

Phyllis Cox, the bright reddish orange, peculiar little lily with the flowers around the top, gave two seedlings which were named at that time, Sunglow and Candlebuds.

White Gold asiatic lilyThere are several dark reds with magnificent spikes in the Maxwell seedlings, but they were nearly all pendant and tightly reflexed; very few were given a number, besides they were prone to disease and thus only one was named, Garnet Gem.

So much for the first generation. I will only mention colour and names for the second [generation], and probable pollen of the first Patterson hybrids that were brought out:

  • Edna Keen 1st generation Radiant Glow; 2nd generation Redspire
  • Phyllis Cox 1st generation numbered; 2nd generation Orange Crown
  • Scottiae 1st generation numbered ; 2nd generation Black Cloud (Maxwell pollen)
  • Coronation 1st generation numbered; 2nd generation Northern Lights (White Gold pollen)
  • Sovereign 1st generation yellow numbered; 2nd generation Yellow Totem (Buttergold pollen)
  • Maxwell 1st generation Garnet Gem; 2nd generation Bloodstone.

This was about all the second generation that were named out of hundreds of seedlings.

From this time on, four of the Patterson Hybrids were introduced: White Gold (photo on left), White Princess, Jasper, and Apricot Glow, only the latter would produce seed and from it came Pastel Jasper. There were many more splendid seedlings from Apricot Glow, but not sufficiently different to name. However, I still have them under observation and one or two more will be named even through they have been growing for some years, the decision takes longer.

Northern Lights asiatic lilyThe first three Patterson hybrids were sterile, but peculiar seedlings have cropped up from the pollen and in one case an outstanding seedling is Northern Lights. (pictured on the right)

The next Patterson hybrid obtained was Edith Cecilia (photo at top of article), the wonderful link for diversity of colours, but oddly enough its seedlings may give a range of colours while the form of the flowers and plant vigour leave much to be desired. I was indeed fortunate to hit on the right combination to get colour, form, and a good plant from the one cross that I was almost certain was Edith Cecilia X Radiant Glow. I haven't any record for this cross, but I do have for the reverse cross and the colours are similar, but brighter, and the plant is different as expected, more like the seed parent in each case.

There were about 200 Edith Cecilia seedlings in the first cross, but not realizing the value of them, they were planted out in a 30 foot row and being so crowded they came into bloom slowly and so it was a couple of years extra before most of them had bloomed enough to see their value. So they were all dug up and moved to well spaced rows where in the second year they put on a grand show. Ten of these have been named and more are under observation.

There were many definite colours and many bi-colors with as many as three colours in the same flower. However, the highlights were two pure whites, one proved unworthy of a name because the scales will not produce bulblets and the seed is sterile. It is still the same single bulb started seven years ago. It has a good spike of waxy white flowers. The white sister seedling named Snow Bunting is just the opposite, easily grown from seed and scales with good natural increase.

The others named were:

  1. (1965) Ivory Snow - comes out palest primrose,changes to ivory, finally near white
  2. (1965) Royal Robes - deep purple red, large flowers
  3. (1965) Snow Bunting - white with lilac sports, white buds have pink base
  4. (1966) Ivory Supreme - ivory with straw yellow center, large flat flowers
  5. (1966) Prairie Fragrance - light fawn with green, has a spicy scent
  6. (1966) Lavish Lady - one color, light mauve, few spots, shiny flat flowers
  7. (1966) Summer Pageant - lilac mauve with lighter center, as flower fade they face up
  8. (1966) Summer Gem - large pale lavender, straw center,triangular shaped flowers, red flecks on petals
  9. (1967) Prairie Sunset - lavender straw with straw yellow face and dark lavender tips, good tall spike and stem

These and others in this group have been diligently hand pollinated to see what the second generation will produce.

by Ed Robinson (CPLS Newsletter # 8:2-4)