Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lilium 'Black Beauty', Salvia guaranitica

If I’m ever asked to recommend a lily for a public planting, or if a gardener new to lilies asks me to recommend a good starter lily, I won’t hesitate in picking one: it’s got to be ‘Black Beauty’. To my eyes it’s much more attractive than the hybrids derived from it. It retains from its wild parents poise which is lacking in its descendants. It’s fragrant, but not overweeningly so. It’s as reliable and vigorous as any lily known to horticulture. It’s big enough to make a show in the garden, yet its innate grace saves it from being a lout.

It’s also just about the last reliable lily to bloom each year in the garden. This year it’s making a particularly good show with some nearby Salvia guaranitica. The color of this salvia does not carry, but up close it’s the sort of color on which the eye can feast. The salvia and the lily are about the same height, with the sparse inflorescence of the salvia at about the same height as the lily flowers. This is a combination I’ve grown to like very much.


Beth said...

hi im a gardner from Hagerstown, md and i just found your blog and really enjoy it!! Is the blue salvia a perennial, i thought it was an annual?? but imagine my surprise when it came up again this year in my mothers garden!! it was next to the brick house and protected by bushes??

McWort said...

Beth, it's been growing outside here for several years. I first saw it established in a friend's garden about thirty years ago. The form with the black calyx ('Black and Blue') is also hardy here.

scottweberpdx said...

I totally agree with you on 'Black Beauty', it is so outstanding, simple, elegant, yet so show-stopping.