For centuries, lilies (Lilium) have been prized for their sweet fragrance and graceful, nodding blooms. But over the past sixty years, extensive breeding has yielded a new generation of vibrantly hued hybrids. In this monumental arrangement, the trumpeted blooms of four hybrid varieties are artfully showcased in an oversize Ironstone vase.
To create an eye-catching palette of pinks, Martha uses the pale, blushing L. Orientalis 'Broadway'; the bright-fuchsia L. Orientalis 'Stargazer'; the soft-coral L. 'Le Reve'); and the pure-white 'Casablanca.' Keep in mind, however, that several other varieties will produce a similar effect, and with more than one hundred species and thousands of cultivars, you should have plenty of lilies from which to choose.
To grow your own blooms for cutting, visit planting lilies.
- Ironstone vase
- Flower frog (Martha secures hers to the vase's bottom with floral clay)
- Cut-flower food
- About 30 lilies
- Sharp knife or bypass pruners
- Tissue (optional)
Fill the vase or container with fresh, room-temperature water, and add cut-flower food. Making sure to handle the lilies with care, as they can bruise easily, hold each stem up next to the vase to gauge how much you'll need to trim. Using a sharp knife or bypass pruners, cut stems at a 45-degree angle, then remove any leaves that will fall below the waterline. (For this arrangement, Martha likes to remove almost all of the leaves from the stem.)
Arrange the lilies: Add each flower to the arrangement, stem by stem, turning the arrangement and facing open flowers out. (Martha likes to remove the anthers -- the pollen-coated parts at the ends of the stamens -- from the buds as they open. Keep in mind, however, that lily pollen can stain clothing and furniture, so carefully remove the anthers with a tissue, or pinch them off with your fingers.)
Recondition the blooms every 2 to 3 days: Recut the stems, change the water, and add cut-flower food. Lilies open in succession; snip off dying flowers close to the main stem. Kept in a cool area, lilies should last for about 10 days.