USA Lily Growers? The Lily Garden vs. B&D

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Has anybody had recent experience with The Lily Garden? I'm wanting 'Scheherizade' and some of Judith Freeman's other hybrids, and I thought it would be neat to order them from her place. I know B&D Lilies has a fabulous reputation, and on the Watchdog it looks like The Lily Garden *had* a great rep also, until this year, when they got 3 bad reviews (and no positive ones) for poor communication and uneven quality.

I'm planning to split this order with a couple other people, so I really don't want to hit a stumbling block with it. I'm thinking I might wait until next year when B&D hopefully has 'Scheherizade' back in stock... but before I put it off for yet another year, I figured I'd check in here and see if anybody knew the scoop re. The Lily Garden.

Of course, it doesn't help that The Lily Garden prefers to do business via snail mail and phone... and this time of year, they are mostly unavailable by phone, I'm sure! I'm so used to even the smallest companies having website shopping carts and prompt responses to email... reading the "how to order" and "contact us" parts of their website was rather a shock, LOL.

I'm also putting together a group buy for our local Mid-Atlantic DGers for spring... just got the Ednie lily list, and ADR's list comes out Dec. 1. We've gotten very nice bulbs from ADR in the past, and those wholesale prices are pretty great. But frozen bulbs from holland vs fresh bulbs from the US... well, I'm willing to pay a premium price to at least try some from TLG or B&D!

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


I started my Lily buying with The Lily Garden and Brent and Becky's Bulbs many years ago, and was very happy with both. I really loved The Lily Garden but they are enormously expensive and their selection is relatively limited. I paid $42 for three Anastasia, but I was willing to do it because Judith hybridized it. Making back their costs is one of the reasons that their prices are relatively high. And their communication issues have to do with being very small. There are two lilies I would love to replace that they don't sell anymore - Rosepoint Lace and Ariadne. I hesitated to get them because the acquisition of three was over $20.

I have two go tos, which I just love. If you look at the prices for B&D you will notice that they have a lot of wonderful lilies for a bit over $5.00 ( a few under), and a lot of threesomes for about $13.00. I was paying $7.50 and up at TLG. B&D lilies are sensational, routinely producing three big flowers the first year. They are so affordable that instead of buying one lily I buy three. The effect of three is OUTSTANDING!

I have Sorbonne, Red Alert, Crystal Blanca, Prince Promise, Speciosum Uchida, Silk Road, Hiawatha, Acapulco.

The first picture is 3 Sorbonnes, a reliable oriental with strong stems and a wonderful scent. I took this picture in July.

The second is Anastasia (about $5.50 each) and Crystal Blanca (Crystal is a shorter stronger Casa Blanca.) Also taken in July.

B&D often has sales (get on their email list) that reduce lilies to $5.00 each, their selection is superb and ever expanding. The selection and the cost, not to mention the excellent service, are why I would go with B&D. Because of them, I am buying lilies for a fraction of the cost I was paying ten years ago.

In the third picture, in the foreground, is lilium speciosum 'Uchida', one of my absolute favorites and just about the last lily to bloom here. Late August into September. It's one of my favorites. I was amazed at how well branched these quite new bulbs were. Picture 4.

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Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Thank you for your detailed and helpful response! Your lilies are stunning. Like you, I'm taken with the idea of buying from and supporting the hybridizer of some of my favorites... but when I'm organizing a group buy, communication and reliable quality are more important than when I'm ordering just for myself.

Prior to the past year, I wouldn't have hesitated to order from TLG (and maybe place a sale order with B&D also), but the GW reviews have made me wary. Sounds like I can absolutely rely on B&D. :-)


I agree about B&D,I've dealt with them for many years.Let me know what you decide to do..

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Sos, we're doing B&D for the fall part of the group buy. I'll order from TLG on my own. Spring part of the group buy will likely be from both ADR and Ednie.

If anybody reading is longing to participate but can't due to distance (I don't ship)... organize your own! I wrote several DG articles this year on group buys, including our "system" for easy and accurate bulb sorting...


Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)


Thank you for letting me know what you are doing. It's great.


Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I love lilies! And group buys are way easier to organize than people think... you just have to find a way to limit the size and scope so you don't go crazy. :-) For me, that generally means making them "local pickup only."

So... nobody has recent experience with TLG or an explanation for what might have been going on with them last season? I'll try calling this week, see if I can catch them in, although I know that's unlikely during the fall harvest. If I find anything out, I'll post!

Kansasville, WI(Zone 5a)

I just planted my bulbs from the Lily Garden and can tell you that they were small, about the size of a quarter.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I've been hearing that for a while. Their bulbs always tended to run smaller than any other I had seen. But that seems extreme. Here are some lilium martagons I got from Old House Garden on special. These bulbs tend to run small, and you can see that they are a heck of a lot bigger than a quarter. And considering the cost, it seems unfair. When other companies have had smaller than usual bulbs they usually give you extra ones to make up for it. Plant and Gnome sent me four shrubs instead of three because they thought one was a bit small. The one that was a "bit small" caught up to the largest one after a year.

The other feedback I can give you about THG just came back to me. A friend order a white lilies and indicated no substitutions, and instead received peach colored lilies instead. Perhaps the most disturbing part was that the lilies she had order and paid for were more expensive, and she was not credited for the difference. This was last year.

Sad. Here is one of my favorite combinations of lilies from The Lily Garden. This picture is from 2007. Rosepoint Lace and Ariadne. I moved and wanted to replace them. Rosepoint Lace is no longer available, and Ariadne is $10 or 3 for $27. So if the other was available it would cost me, before shipping. about $60 to replace them. A bit steep.

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Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Sorry to hear about the tiny bulbs from TLG. Sounds like Judith just hasn't been able to keep up with things. I thought she had somebody -- a DIL? -- helping her a couple years ago, but perhaps that didn't work out. It must be hard pouring yourself into a business for years and then watching it decline when you can't personally stay on top of the day to day operations.

I did place an order with B&D, and we got some lovely big, firm bulbs from them. There's definitely a difference between bulbs from Holland and fresh-dug bulbs from B&D's fields -- the scales on the bulbs are bigger and plumper, and I bet they are going to put out roots most of the winter, ready to burst out of the ground in spring.

We'll still get some bulbs from Holland, because we can't resist the wholesale pricing from Ednie and ADR, but I think this was our first of many fall orders from B&D!

I must say also what a pleasure Deanna was to deal with at B&D. I'm amazed that she was generally available to answer to phone during their peak harvest & packing season.

Fun Fact: She and her DH will celebrate their 45th anniversary in January... and they've worked together 38 of those years!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

They are the loveliest people. I had a lot of fun talking with Bob last year. I transposed credit card number. We end up talking about all kinds of lily related things. I order from them every year.

It is sad about Judith at The Lily Garden. She has done some wonderful work, and it is sad how quickly things can become difficult. I hope things work out for her.

silver spring, MD(Zone 7a)

I thought I remembered reading somewhere that she had decided to take some of her fields out of production this year and was concentrating only on what she had personally hybridized. I can't give any specifics because I can't document it. I think I may have heard it at the flower show when I was talking to one of the exhibitors.

Kansasville, WI(Zone 5a)

TLG had some seed I wanted to buy. Then I started looking at the lily pictures and sent my order in. Didn't even think about checking the watchdog. My order arrived when I requested. It's just that the bulbs were so small.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

That would explain a lot, but I don't think the bulbs I am after were hybridized by her. Worse, Anastasia, for which I happily paid premium price, is now widely available at at fraction of the original cost.

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