Yes, this lily really is this dark. Maybe even darker. (I check the color of my photos against the actual flower, rather than juicing them up for effect.)
I picked up this ‘Nerone’ lily at my local co-op this spring. That was when I was still virtuously keeping to a really restricted bulb order for summer-blooming bulbs, a resolve that melted within a few weeks, but allowed me to splurge $2.50 (Asiatic liies aren’t expensive, but this is an unheard-of cheap price) on a package of three Asiatic lilies.
Unlike most spring-blooming bulbs, Asiatic lilies need constant moisture, so I had to find a container and some companion plants for them. This container has dark red snapdragons, Greek oregano, and ‘Bowl of Beauty’ peony in with Nerone. I may have tucked a couple of small bulbs in there, too; I like to get full mileage out of my containers.
Asiatic lilies have no scent (at least I’ve never known one of them that did), so they rely on looks alone. In some cases, despite what your mother may have told you, that’s enough.
I’d been meaning to order ‘Landini’, an Asiatic lily that looked lusciously dark in the photographs, and ‘Nerone’ was a substitute. I will say for myself that when I finally made my two summer bulb orders, I didn’t get Landini. I was that restrained.
Nerone has made a wonderful substitute for my Landini fantasy. One of the bulb sprouts was bitten off by a deer (that was before I got my deer repellent in hand; you have to keep up with the new growth, and every year I slip up a few times). The other bulb has one of those shriveled buds that bode ill. But the third bulb has made up for it all.
There are several categories of lilies, as you will see if you have a decent bulb catalogue. (Sometime soon, I plan on putting up a page on this site to lead you to some of those.) The Asiatics are the first to bloom, possibly along with some of the species lilies. (It also depends when you plant them, of course.) One of the great things about all lilies is that they are a great show from the time the first leaves emerge, through the growing foliage and ripening buds.
Nerone starts out like this:
The stalks extend themselves;
The buds come on; and then comes the exciting day when they color up, and you know they’re really going to do it.
And then they do.
Afterwards, you still have the gorgeous shiny lily foliage to mix in with whatever plants are in with them. And the garden beat goes on.