The Chinese Year of the Tiger has been rung in with drums and dancing, and jiaozi, the delicious stuffed dumplings that are said to be shaped like silver money and symbolize a year stuffed with good things – and riches.
We have celebrated many Chinese New Years since our first trip to live and work in Beijing in 1989. While there we learned that while there are 12 animals in the 12 year Chinese zodiac, the full cycle takes 60 years to complete. Every 12th year is considered a ‘dangerous’ year, and when you think about it there are often great physical and social changes every 12 years or so. Puberty at 12, marriage at 24, full family life at 36, and edging into old age at 48. When you arrive at 60, the full cycle is complete and you begin again; 60 is a time of new energy and new possibilities.
My husband Henry was born in the Year of the Tiger and it just occurred to me that I made a lucky choice when I planted Henry lilies from Old House Gardens last fall. Henry’s Lily (Lilium henryi) is an old Chinese wildflower that is described as having ‘tawny-orange petals’ which sound very tigerish to me.
I have been planning a Henry garden, or at least a Henry collections for some time. In addition to Henry’s Lily, I also planted White Henryi, lily (white with a’starry heart of apricot and cinnamon”) a newer lily hybridized by the same man who created my sturdy and hardy Black Beauty lilies.
So far, the only other Henry plants I have are the white flowered clematis henryi that climbs through my Celestial rose, and Henry’s Garnet sweetspire, a small shrub that has white summer blooms and crimson fall color.
I am looking for suggestions for other Henry plants and will welcome all the help you can give me.
Images courtesy of Old House Gardens.