LILIES

Lilies do best in partial shade, in deep, well-dug soil, which is well drained and contains decayed leaf mould, peat and gritty sand. Plant, if possible, among low-growing shrubs or herbaceous subjects like dwarf rhododendrons, ericas and paeonies, to keep the roots cool, also to protect from frost and cold winds. Plant in October, 5 or 6 in. deep (a good rule is double the depth of the bulb), and do not take up oftener than once in three years. A handy plan is to buy lilies in pots in the late spring and sink the pots into the border, not in too much sun, in suitable groups according to ideas of colour. If the pots are small for the root growth, be very careful when re-potting into larger size to use a soil without the addition of lime. Some lilies throw out roots above the bulb as well as below; it is therefore wise to plant low in pots to allow for adding soil as needed. If in the plot, keep an eye open for this habit and cover these upper roots in good time. Among the great number of species and varieties Lilium candidum, 4 ft., is the madonna lily, and should be planted in August in a sunny position the bulbs being just covered with soil. L. martagon, 3 ft., purple, and the beautiful white martagon, prefer sun and a chalky soil for best results, each flowering in July as does the scarlet Chalcedonicum. The orange lily is croceum, 3 ft. Speciosum rubrum is rose with carmine and purple spots, flowering in August. Longiflorum eximium is the Bermuda easter lily which is seen in almost every florist’s shop. It grows to about 3 ft. with pure white flowers in July but is not long-lived outdoors and is best potted in autumn for spring flowering (no lime).

Some lilies do well in a really shady situation, with moist soil. Among these are canadense with loose heads of dainty, bell-shaped orange-yellow spotted brown flowers to about 4 ft.; superbum, orange-red to about 6 ft. (no lime); burbankii, orange-yellow flushed crimson and spotted chocolate to about 5 ft. (no lime); the Parryi hybrids varying from lemon-yellow to golden yellow with delicate brown spots (no lime). The hybrid lily known as Maxwill is a very bright orange-red, exceptionally free-flowering and growing to 7 ft. when well established. It is more dependable than some lilies and can be confidently recommended to the beginner. Lilium regale is one of the easiest and most adaptable of all lilies. When established it will bear up to 20 flowers on a single stem, growing to at least 4 ft. They are funnel-shaped, wine-coloured on the outside, pure white and yellow inside. It prefers a sunny position with shade at the roots, being very susceptible to late spring frosts. A covering of litter or bracken will avoid injury at this time of year. The variety G. C. Creelman is sometimes termed a glorified regale. The flowers are almost twice as large and it blooms three weeks later. Lilium Henryi is another easy lily and is often at its best on a limy loam. The deep orange-yellow flowers are borne on purple-black stems. When this species is really happy, it may reach 7—8 ft. carrying over 50 flowers. To guard against disease all bulbs should be well dusted with powdered sulphur before planting, but no cure has so far been found for the virus affecting lilies and it cannot be detected in the bulb. Lilies are increased by their offsets, and in some varieties also by the scales on the bulbs.

The Arum is not really a lily; its proper name is £antedeschia, it is not hardy, is mostly grown in the greenhouse to flower in winter and spring, and is nearly always white, the exceptions being angustiloba and Elliot-tiana, both yellow. The Scarborough lily is entered under VALLOTA SPECIOSA, the Mariposa Lily under CALOCHORTUS and the day lily under HEMEROCALLIS.

Adequate support should be given to all tall lilies, especially where high winds are experienced. Parryi, for instance, will need support and those with extra large heads of bloom will topple over in the wind. Generally, regale does not need support and only a few lilies like the variety Davidii Wilmottiae ask for support at more than half their height.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.