As the merry month of June rolls around, the Fairegarden enters its Summer phase. That means lilies, Lilium species and cultivars of all types. I am addicted to them. An early blooming favorite is the LA hybrid group, nicely illustrated by L. ‘Royal Sunset’ above.
Lilium ‘Royal Fantasy’ was planted along the daylily hill path edge in the beginning stage of this garden, one bulb per hole, ten in all. The increase over the years is nothing short of miraculous. It certainly makes the initial expenditure of time and treasure a wise investment.
Due to the steep slope and curvature of the pathway, the entire planting of these lilies cannot be captured in one image. You will simply have to take my word for their presence at this time of year. They make a statement.
Following the philosophy that if some are good, more are better, true of all bulbs by the way, a group of L. ‘Tango Crossover’ was added to the bed across the hall from the daylily bed, known as the heather bed. Purchased in pots after the blooms had gone over, for a song, it wasn’t until this spring that their true identity, true colors if you will, was revealed. They seem to be of the miniature group and will be spread along the heather bed edge. It is good that they are blooming at the same time as the stalwarts on the other side, too.
The Black Garden is home to many lilies of all types. The Asiatic L. ‘Cappucino’, a gift from daughter Chickenpoet one year is similar to the Tango Crossover in coloration and stature, with a more solid bit of the dark hue in the center. The name alone assures it a place in the garden. I admit to being swayed by well thought out naming that refers to food or drink.
In the same area as the coffee drink is this Asiatic L. ‘Monte Negro’. It is not as darkly colored as the name would suggest. It is however a gift from my other daughter, Semi. Lily bulbs make EXCELLENT gifts and will always be well received.
Ah, the high wattage candlepower of the summer sun is upon us already, making for finding the exact perfect lighting to be essential for the desired photographic effect. This is not it, but does show the L. ‘Regale’, the earliest blooming of the Chinese Trumpet class of lilies grown here. A post about how this became a *must have* garden denizen can be read by clicking here, if you wish to know more. Located in the shed bed with Eryngiums and Belamcandas, among others, this is the sunniest and driest spot we have.
Onward and upward to the knot garden where tall lilies of three sorts can be found, for now, growing on quadripod stakes. These were planted to add vertical interest after the big bloom of viridiflora tulips in early spring is over. The criteria for this planting included being something that would not smother the creeping Thyme crazy quilt planting blanketing each quadrant. Chinese Trumpets and this L. ‘Tiger Babies’ fit the bill nicely. The Trumpets bloom later, as do the Orientals growing in other beds. They will be featured when in bloom.
Some Wiki facts about Lilies:
Lilium is a genus of herbaceous flowering plants growing from bulbs. Most species are native to the temperate northern hemisphere. They comprise a genus of about 110 species in the lily family (Liliaceae).
They are important as large showy flowering garden plants. Additionally, they are important culturally and in literature in much of the world. Some species are sometimes grown or harvested for the edible bulbs.
The species in this genus are the true lilies. Many other plants exist with “lily” in the common English name, some of which are quite unrelated to the true lilies.
Some Frances facts about Lilies:
They prefer at least a half day of sun, but will grow with fewer flowers in shade.
The must have well drained soil, this is not negotiable.
They enjoy a feeding at the time of planting, but it is not a requirement. Mine are no longer fed anything at all and are doing just fine.
They do appreciate watering during times of drought when in bloom only.
The bulb will pull itself downward by the roots, so depth of planting is not crucial. In hotter areas, deeper planting will help keep the bulbs cooler. In colder areas a layer of mulch will help protect them from the frigid temperatures.
Depending on species, most are hardy in the coldest zones, heat is more of a problem. We are lucky with our zone 7a here in Southeast Tennessee and can grow most types easily.
Propagation can be done by rooting leaf cuttings, seeds and digging the baby bulbs that will develop around the mother bulb. I have tried all of these methods and find the digging of babies to be the easiest for flowering sized offspring the soonest.
Like Tulips, allow the stalks and leaves to die back naturally, for this feeds the bulb for next year’s bloom. Spent flowers may be cut, leaving as much stem standing as possible. The leaves on some will turn a nice shade of gold in the fall, adding to the season’s color palette with dignity and grace.
The taller species, like the Chinese Trumpets and their hybrids need to be staked, as do many of the lax stemmed Orientals. I leave the stakes in the ground to help me remember where the heck they are planted so as not to make a tragic digging mistake.
It is fine to buy the potted lilies and plant them in the ground, in bloom or afterwards, but the best bulbs and most variety can be found online from reputable bulb dealers, to be planted in the fall.
For more information on specific species, try our friend, Google, or other search engines. Every single garden will benefit from a few Liliums, so do give them a try!