Tom Pouce

'Tom Pouce'
Rainbow Lily


"A child is lying fast asleep
Down where the lilies grow,
And the lilies nod and peep,
Quite pleased to have him so.
And the lilies softly say,
"We must not sleep, you know;
Lest he wake and run away,
Fast as little legs can go."

-Menella Bute Smedley
(1820-1877)

   

'Tom Pouce' rainbow lily is a cloned Oriental hybrid. It is named for a layered Dutch pastry filled with yellow custard, elsewhere called Napoleons.

Flowering in July, it has one of the finest shades of pink I've ever seen with a lily, adding a tangerine stripe down the center of each petal, & a dusting of freckles, topped off with magenta stamins.

It may sound particolored & excessive, but the colors tend to be blending pastels of the "brushstrokes" variety, tastefully subtle. Actually, the color can vary from year to year depending on the soil & nutrients & sunlight exposure, so that some years the colors can be almost electric & perhaps a bit gaudy after all, but I've a suspicion no one would complain.

Each erect stem produces four to eight very large fragrant blooms, which face upward. The scent is substantial & if taken for bouquets, first try only one at a time, or the perfume may be too much for a small room. In stature it is semi-dwarf in the two to three foot range, so far less apt to tip over than are varieties that reach five or six feet.

The flowers have a waxy texture & are stiff, holding their shape & color longer than some Asiatic lilies. They like sun or a little shade. They want regular but not excessive watering in well-draining soil in the neutral to slightly acidic range, for zones 4 through 9. A clump can be dug up for division ever third year or so.

   



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