Ervin H. Doerr's interest in lilies began in the 1960's. He had a side business in New Ulm called Hillside Gardens. He started growing and improving on the tiger lilies that were found growing in ditches. His well-grown lilies were noticed and he was encouraged to grow other lilies. He found his way to Louise Koehler's garden and also formed a friendship with Earl Tesca. He heard Merv Eisel talking about forming a lily society in Minnesota and Ervin was at the first meeting. He became a charter member and was very active and supportive of the North Star Lily Society. He authored a regular article in the North Star Lily News newsletter called "Consider the Lilies" and through his writing was able to share culture information with NSLS members.
His interest in lilies was diverse in color and form. He grew trumpets, Aurelians and Asiatics. Eventually his interest in cut flowers led him to experiment with the development of pollen-less Asiatic lilies. He thought that their blooms could be employed more easily in the floral industry as corsages and boutonnieres. While the blooms were usually small, they were never really accepted for that purpose. But, they did inspire a future hybridizer, Tim Zimmerman, to improve on his work.
Noted lilies created by Ervin H. Doerr include L. 'Black Bear,' 'Honey Bear,' 'Polar Bear,' 'Redwood' and 'Appleblossom.'