The conservatory at Longwood Gardens overflowed with the best new lily varieties in the first-ever Lilytopia, an event modeled on the Netherlands' Keukenhof lily display. Dutch growers shipped 16,000 stems of lilies to the gardens, and teams worked under the direction of Dorien van den Berg, one of Holland's most inspired floral designers, to arrange enormous displays.
A full-day symposium May 24, 2010, featured talks by breeders, growers, designers, and floral buyers. The Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers held its Mid-Atlantic regional meeting at Longwood the following day, and many flower growers arrived a day early to participate in the Lilytopia symposium.
Breeders are constantly improving lilies for cut and potted flowers. Color and fragrance are important, as is the orientation of the flowers -- whether they face outward, up or down. Many of the varieties on display have not yet been introduced into the U.S. market, so growers had the chance to see the newest hybrids and cultivars and vote for their favorites. Scroll down to see the winners and some of my personal favorites.
3rd place: Oriental lily 'Tigerwoods'
2nd place: Martagon lily 'Orange Marmalade'
These gorgeous lilies look like orchids, with numerous small, bright flowers arranged on long stems. They are not currently widely available in the cut flower trade, so they may present a new opportunity.
1st place: Oriental lily 'Pico'
Other lilies that growers and designers loved: Oriental Trumpet 'Shocking'
Oriental Trumpet 'Gluhwein'
Oriental Trumpet 'Saltarello'
Oriental 'Chill Out'
More scenes from Lilytopia: