Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Story Behind These Heirloom Tiger Lilies!

Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Grandpa’s Tiger Lilies

Welcome to Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House on this beautiful July day!  I would like to share with you the story of these heirloom “Tiger Lilies” that are currently in bloom at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House. When I was a child, (many, many) years ago, I always loved these special flowers. I was fascinated with the little black seeds that grew up and down the sturdy stocks, and the shape of these wonderful blooms with all of their intricate parts.

I saw them many times during their blooming season. The large patch that grew at my Grandpa’s house, was right beside the outhouse, a very popular destination. We were a little behind the times at Grandpa’s and didn’t get an inside bathroom, until the mid 1960’s. This swathe of Tiger Lilies always had a lot of traffic past them especially on Sundays during the summer, when as many as 20 to 30 family members would gather for  dinner and an afternoon of conversation while us kids played around the farm.

The Tiger Lilies pictured here that bloom at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House actually came from the little patch that was next to that often used outhouse. In June of 2004, on the day of my father’s funeral, I visited the site where my grandpa’s house had stood for so many years and had housed so many of my family members. ( My dad was one of sixteen children). The house had deteriorated to a pile of rubble, most of the barns and outbuildings, long gone along with that well used little outhouse. However on that day in June 2004, one solitary Tiger Lily still bloomed among all the weeds. My husband and I dug it up and moved it down the lane to what is now known as Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House. As I  planted it in one of my flower beds I prayed this poor lonesome flower would make it through the transplant in the middle of the summer heat. (Little did I know about the endurance of these beauties. Now, twelve years later that Tiger Lily still flourishes and has multiplied many times over, reseeding into two other gardens in the yard as well.

I only need a glimpse of these tall lilies to bring all of the wonderful memories of my childhood and grandpa’s farm flooding back. These flowers have stood the test of time, definitely no coddling to keep these flowers alive. I have no idea when they were planted or by whom, but my ancestors dwelt on that land as far back as 1860. I like to envision the grandmother I never knew, (she died about eight years before I was born), planting those flowers and enjoying the beauty of them year after year. The amazing thing is that even after I dug up the last remaining Tiger Lily that day back in 2004, they still thrive. I was by there a few days ago and where the old outhouse stood another new group is blooming. I guess they will last forever just like my precious memories.

Here are a few interesting facts about the Tiger Lily:

The Tiger Lily, bears large, fiery orange flowers covered by spots. The name tiger probably refers to the spots on the petals. 

The Tiger Lily has significant medicinal use. A tincture is made from the fresh plant and has proved of great value in uterine-neuralgia, congestion and irritation, also in the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. (Interesting fact considering my grandmother was pregnant at least sixteen times that I know of.) 

There is an old legend from Asia about the Tiger Lily. A Korean hermit helped a wounded tiger by removing an arrow from its body. The tiger asked the hermit to use his powers to perpetuate their friendship after his death. The hermit agreed and when the tiger died, his body became a tiger lily. Eventually the hermit drowned and his body was washed away. The Tiger Lily spread everywhere searching for its friend. 

The Tiger Lily stands for wealth and prosperity. 

There is a superstition that smelling a Tiger Lily will give you freckles.

I hope you have enjoyed learning about the Tiger Lilies that bloom at Roberts’ Roost Country Guest House. If you happen to stay during the month of July, please stop and take a moment to smell these beautiful flowers that originated here so long ago.

I thought I would also share with you this old winter 1965 black and white photo taken of my grandpa’s garden, the outhouse and windmill. The Tiger Lilies stood right next to the outhouse.

Roberts' Roost Country Guest House

Winter 1965 Gus Roberts Farm


Connie Zink