Regale Lily Inspiration

June 8, 20092 005 (3)“That was the moment when I first saw the lilies…..I had to possess those lilies….”June 8, 20092 003 (3)“The lilies were of the variety known as Regale, and they stood in rows of glistening white down the whole length of one side of the kitchen garden.” June 6, 2009 008 (2)“A faint breeze was stirring and as they nodded their heads there drifted towards us a most exquisite fragrance.” June 8, 2009 004 (2)“Never before, in any garden of the world, have I seen such lilies; their loveliness was literally dazzling; the massed array of the white blossom was like sunlit snow.” June 3, 2009 023 (3) The above passages are from one of my favorite books, Merry Hall by Beverley Nichols. Mr. Nichols (1898-1983) was a prolific writer on various subjects, but his garden books, which have been reprinted more recently since the 1951 first publishing with the addition of a plant index and foreward by Ann Lovejoy have enjoyed renewed popularity. Merry Hall is the first of a trilogy and his best work in this blogger’s humble opinion. It was been read and reread numerous times, always fresh and funny with stories of garden and human foibles as he bought and restored the titled Georgian style mansion. The description of the lilies had me hooked immediately and five bulbs were ordered after the initial reading, a few years ago. The display was meager until this year, one in which there have been plentiful spring rains in addition to the time passage it takes for lilies to reach their full potential.June 8, 2009 002 (2) The Regales are planted just inside the boxwood hedge in the shed bed. Nasella tenuissima has self seeded in this bed providing fluffy movement as a foil for the straight and erect lily stalks. They are in the sight line of the oft mentioned lazyboy laptop position in the addition that joins the main house to the garage. Looking up to gaze at these royal beauties never fails to bring a sigh of happiness. But there is more to the story, in the book and in the Fairegarden….June 8, 20092 028 Speaking to the gardener that came with Merry Hall, Oldfield, a classic character of the old school, Beverley has suggested that more of the Regale lilies might be added to the row.
“Says Oldfield, ‘Were you thinking of buying boolbs?’
I had, very definitely, been thinking of buying boolbs. But, I realized my mistake just in time.
‘Oh no…’ I stammered.
‘Hmph!’ His one eye pierced me through and through.
I shook my head.
‘T’would seem to me to be a pity,’ he observed.
There was a long pause.
‘Seeing as ‘ow all these was grown from seed,’ he added.
…Seeds it must be.”
And for me as well, after the initial purchase of five boolbs. Seeds of the Chinese Trumpet lilies grown here, Regale and Golden Splendor, in addition to Black Dragon seeds from Barb at Mr. McGregor’s Daughter were sown in the greenhouse late last winter with good results.
~~~
From Mobot:
Common Name: regal lily
Zone: 4 to 8
Plant Type: Bulb
Family: Liliaceae
Missouri Native: No
Native Range: Western China
Height: 3 to 7.5 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1 foot
Bloom Time: July Bloom Data
Bloom Color: Pink-purple outside, trumpet white inside w/ yellow throat
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
General culture:
Grow in full sun with some shade in late afternoon. Too much shade can make lilies leggy, “stretching” for the sun. Soil must be well-drained, with added compost or peat moss. Top dress in fall with mulch to avoid “heaving” from early winter thaws. Keep soil cool in summer with over-plantings of ground covers or annuals. Plant 2 to 3 times as deep as their diameter.
~~~
June and July are lily season here in southeast Tennessee. The Asiatics, LA hybrids, Chinese Trumpets, Orientals and some species do well on our well drained sunny slopes. The vertical interest of the tall, some to seven feet, stalks of lively flowers add drama to the garden beds. Other plantings can be placed at the base of the lilies for they appreciate their feet shaded. An experiment in the knot garden of tall lilies on bamboo tripods is working out well so far. The search for a plant that would not shade out the thyme crazy quilt in the quadrants led us to the trumpets that are now budded. The dark colors chosen will be shown as they open, but none will have the heart of the gardener like the Regales first brought to our attention in Merry Hall.
Frances

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26 Responses to Regale Lily Inspiration

  1. tina says:

    They sure are lovely. Boolbs huh? Funny. Sounds like mountain talk for sure.

    Hi Tina, thanks, you would love this book. Nichols was in England at the time, I think his gardener Oldfield, great name, huh, was Scottish? That would explain the similarity to the accents here, mostly Scottish settlers.
    Frances

  2. nancybond says:

    Oh, they are so lovely, Frances! “Sunlit snow…” indeed!

    Hi Nancy, thanks. This is a great book, you would love the writing, funny and garden-y. The lilies are beauties, having their best year ever. :-)
    Frances

  3. Zoe says:

    I have these in my garden, but they wont flower until next month. I grow them up amongst the roses.

    Oooh, Zoe, I can imagine how the lilies will look amongst roses, sound like a perfect match up.
    Frances

  4. Darla says:

    quite entertaining….I believe Ms. Doris three doors down has these lilies, and hers do grow tall as to reach for the sun. Very beautiful.

    Hi Darla, thanks. Maybe Ms. Doris will give you seeds of these. They germinated quite readily.
    Frances

  5. Don’t you just love Nichols writings?? I do too. Just reading these excerpts makes me want to read his books again…this winter. I would swoon at seeing seven foot tall lilies.
    What a sight that must be.

    Hi Lisa, yes, I am going to reread Merry Hall again, looking up those excerpts made me long to read his words again. You could grow these lilies, they are quite easy. :-)
    Frances

  6. Randy says:

    Very pretty Frances. Our lilies were a bit of a disappointment this year. I think they fell victim to a hungry squirrel.

    Thanks, Randy. Those darn squirrels. In the fall I have to put chickenwire, or rosemary forts around the plantings or the squirrels would dig everything newly planted. The rosemary even roots! HA
    Frances

  7. Phillip says:

    I love them. I just bought a selection of 4 last fall and they are beginning to bloom.

    Thanks, Phillip. I can imagine lilies with your roses, beautiful! :-)
    Frances

  8. Hi Frances

    Don’t they look good against the grass. You can detect the movement from a still photo.

    A great combination. You’re garden is looking wonderful.

    Hi Rob, thanks. That grass has totally won my heart. It looks good in every setting and seems to love the conditions here with no care from me, a perfect plant.
    Frances

  9. Dave says:

    The ponytail grass looks great with those Lilies. You could try propagating a few from the leaves. It’s worked well for me so far with the Asiatics.

    Hi Dave, thanks. I read your post about the leaf propagation and will be trying it, what an easy way to have scads of lilies!
    Frances

  10. joey says:

    I can see why you would covet this beauty, Frances … a perfect name!

    Hi Joey, thanks. I was disappointed the first couple of years, deciding our conditions were too dry, but this year has changed my thoughts about that. The other lilies do well too. Love them.
    Frances

  11. The lilies and grass together look beautiful.

    Thanks, Happy.
    Frances

  12. gail says:

    Frances….how wonderful it must be to see them towering above the stipa. A treat for the senses for sure~~Hopefully the orienpets I planted will bloom this summer….gail

    Hi Gail, thanks, they are quite a sight, wish you could see them in person. I do hope your lilies will bloom this year, but know that it sometimes, not always takes a couple of years for them to meet their potential. :-)
    Frances

  13. Joanne says:

    Lovely post It’s years since I read any of Beverley Nicholls garden books.

    I adore Regale Lilies out of all lilies. I bought assorted lily bulbs many years ago from de Jager. Regale were the best though. They have dwindled considerably probably the lily beetle which is such a problem. I grow my lilies in pots and store in a cold greenhouse in the winter. Growing in pots enables me to place near the front and back door so the perfume drifts inside. Some hot evenings it even drifts through the bedroom window. I have just a few Regale in flower now but keep promising myself a restock perhaps for next year.

    Thanks Joanne. I haven’t read them lately either, too busy blogging! But will sneak in some reading time, for I love his words. I am sorry about the lily beetle, ack! I have not noticed that problem here so far. Our lilies are grown in the ground and the biggest danger to them is digging squirrels in the fall hiding the walnuts and in the spring as they look for them.
    Frances

  14. Lola says:

    Thank you, Frances. I do believe you have ID’ed my lilies for me. I have some that got to about 7 or 8′ last summer. They are up {and I mean up}. I inherited them when we bought the house. I have them everywhere. The seeds apparently flutter to the ground so the next yr. they come up.
    Do the bulbs look like it is made up of segments? Almost like a pine cone.
    Do you have any pregnant onions or blooming {as they are sometimes called}?

    Hi Lola, how wonderful that you inherited these lilies! The seeds were plentiful and easy to germinate. The bulbs do look like pine cones and each segment will grow a new lily too. I have onions from my daughter in law that are walking onions, with onions that grow on the tops, doing so right now. Is that what you are talking about? :-)
    Frances

  15. VW says:

    Of course lilies bloom later here in Spokane, but I’m happily watching my 4 types of oriental lilies grow: Stargazer, Casa Blanca, Wielke Alberti and Brasilia. Should be quite a fragrant show when they bloom. Is there any flower more elegant than a lily?

    Hi VW, lilies are just wonderful and your orientals sound delightful. I also grow Stargazer and Casa Blanca, the last one new this year. Your garden will be a perfumed delight! :-)
    Frances

  16. Kanak says:

    They’re so beautiful..and the lines from the book…loved that too.

    Thanks, Kanak. You would love this book, it is funny and garden-y at the same time. :-)
    Frances

  17. Sue says:

    What a lovely post! I don’t know my lilies, but I got a couple after they had bloomed for a great price last year, and now they are going to bloom soon. I am eager to see the buds open. I think they are Asiatic ones, but I can’t remember.

    Yours are pretty!

    Hi Sue, thanks. Getting those marked down pots of past bloom lilies is a great bargain. My daughter Semi and I have grabbed those many times. Usually they are Asiatics, but we never met a lily we didn’t love. :-)
    Frances

  18. Jenny B says:

    I do love white blooms. They are very pretty against the grass. Are there some other lilies there almost ready to pop? What a beautiful sight to gaze at as you are blogging away on your laptop. Thanks for the book recommendation. My book list is almost as long as my plant list! LOL!

    Hi Janny, thanks. I love white flowers too, they really tie all the diverse hues together. All the Asiatics are beginning to open and the other trumpets are so close. More were added last fall that we have never seen too, can’t wait! You will love Merry Hall, maybe it should go to the top of the list. :-)
    Frances

  19. Those are cute. I favor Asiatic lilies myself, but, alas, so does the groundhog. *Sigh.*

    Thanks, Monica, we love all the lilies too. No groundhogs here, but we have plenty of other critters. I only got one strawberry this year! :-(
    Frances

  20. Jen says:

    I am swooning over your garden!

    Hi Jen, thanks and welcome. So glad you enjoy seeing the Fairegarden. :-)
    Frances

  21. Rose says:

    Such a merry row of lilies! I think Mr. Nichols would be proud. Thanks for the tips on planting, Frances; I don’t have any Asiatic lilies here right now but have been thinking of adding some.

    Hi Rose, thanks. Asiatics are so fool proof, you should add lots of them. :-)
    Frances

  22. Your photos are gorgeous…illustrating the excerpt from the book just perfectly:-)

    Thanks, Jan, glad you enjoyed the story. Nichols’ writing is some of my very favorite work. I highly recommend Merry Hall. :-)
    Frances

  23. Lola says:

    Frances, I’m not talking about walking onions. I have those also, brought back from N.C.
    I’m talking about the pg onion or blooming onion that has blooms on a long stem. The blooms are along side each stem. The “leaves” can sometimes get to 5/6′. It is an unusual plant. It would have to be protected in winter in your area. If you would like I could send you some.

    Hi Lola, that is so kind of you, thanks. I will be in touch! :-)
    Frances

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