Lilies as companion plants

In contrast to the deep-coloured, compact-flowering plants just considered which dominate a garden, another group comprising the mainly pastel-shaded, delicate and recurved flowering lilies should not be neglected for garden use because of their tenderness and lightness. Their blooms are arranged in racemose inflorescence and are not quite as densely placed and on rather taller stems. Clumps of only three to five bulbs can be made to produce the most effective displays, particularly if planted among the leafy background of low-growing shrubs, which these long-stemmed lilies tower over. If a leafy background is impossible, their interestingly varied and colourful flowers appear to best advantage planted near a path. The Jan de Graaff Fiesta and Harlequin hybrids (4-5 feet high), mostly derived from Asiatic hybrids, belong to this group. Fiesta hybrids should always be planted as a mixture, as their colours are particularly striking, ranging from yellow to orange to red and mahogany. The less brilliantly coloured, heavily brown-spotted Harlequin hybrids have slightly recurved petals with pastel shades varying from ochre to the colour of leather and to pink and red. Ideally, these should be grown near a path, where their interesting colours appear to good advantage. The dwarfer lilies from Isabella Preston also deserve garden space for their rich and profuse flowers, as do the Ball strain from the Blackthorne Gardens, which are similar to the Harlequin hybrids. There are many other good lilies which fit into this group: Skyrocket- red with brown speckles; and two from Porter, Rosabella – star-shaped, delicate carmine-axidPrincess Royal, with carmine-lilac flowers.

Professor Patterson of Canada has produced several valuable and exquisitely beautiful lilies which deserve a very special place in the garden – a place from which they can easily and conveniently be admired. They are fascinatingly coloured and are derived from L. cernuum. Among them are Edith Cecilia, Lemon Queen, Rosalind, White Gold, and White Princess. All of them flower as June turns into July, an ideal time for bridging the gap between spring and summer flowers.

Companion plants for lilies

There are a vast number of plants to choose from. For a low ground cover, the pale-blue Campanula carpatica looks beautiful, and heightens the colour effect of yellow lilies. Dark or light-blue larkspur looks equally well. For a contrast in texture and colour to the strong solid patches of lily colour, gypsophila provides an effective neighbour; thalictrum creates a similar effect, but is more suited to flatter the taller-growing lilies. Too brightly coloured companion plants are likely to weaken the visual impact of lilies, and are best avoided; so too is the use of aubrietia and low-growing Phlox as underground cover – both encourage snails and slugs and, at the same time, hide the irreparable attacks on bulbs and new lily shoots these pests are responsible for.

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