I have been in the habit the last few years of using my garden photography and blog posts as virtual harbingers of the seasons, and the arrival of the year's first tiger lily sent me back into the blog archives. The first of these orange beauties arrived on June 18 last year, while tiger lilies first bloomed in my yard on June 17 in 2006.
Thus, the tiger lilies are 3-4 days late by my reckoning this year, unless the previous examples were aberrations. I am not enough of a horticultural expert to know if this is a significant variation, but I do find it curious nonetheless. I also find it curious that the tiger lilies of some of my neighbors started blooming a few days ago, while my reluctant plants held out for a few more days.
Maybe this is a function of fertilizer, since I rarely add any store-bought nutrients to my gardens (and never waste it on the easy-to-grow tiger lilies). Perhaps next year I will target a few isolated plants to see if fertilized tiger lilies grow any faster or with more heartiness than the lilies that manage on their own.
Yet no matter when the tiger lilies first bloom in my yard, they are always a sure sign that summer has arrived, and that the hottest days of the year await us. It is time to start doubling up on the water I consume when gardening, and also for me to dust off the sprinkler for those inevitable 7-to-10 day stretches without a decent summer rain.