Usually due to our wet, mild winters, lilies don’t do very well for me on our heavy clay. Because our soil is very sticky during the winter months, the bulbs usually just rot away, never to be seen again, in spite of specially preparing the site for them. Thanks to the freezing cold and snow last winter, instead of all the rain we would normally have had, the lilies seem to have done so much better.
Our first lily to flower is a martagon lily which likes to be in semi shade. This one took a long time to settle down before it decided it was happy (2 or 3 years). It has obviously now decided that it likes where I have put it because it gets better and better with more and more flowers each year. But I didn’t just plant one – where are its friends – given up the ghost I think!
These bulbs are of a hybrid of L. auratum, given to me by friend Jill quite some time ago.
They are in a pot which was stood in the border and I then forgot to move it.
Now I find I can’t move it, they have rooted through the base!
The bulbs obviously like the good drainage from being in a pot and the roots like the nourishment they are getting from the soil below.
The perfume they send around the garden is wonderful – it finds you on the breeze no matter where you are.
Lilium longiflorum is a new one for me, so is still in its pot just dropped in the front border – my bee and butterfly border.
As it is still in its pot, I can bring this one onto the front porch for the winter to save it having to put up with our winter rain.
This too has a beautiful perfume, but not as strong as the auratum hybrid.
The bees certainly love it, every time I walk past, the flower is buzzing, but I missed them this time !
Lilium regale is another beautiful one with a delicious perfume.
Unfortunately this is the one that I have most trouble with, keeping it going from one year to the next.
I think maybe to be more successful I ought to plant them all in pots to overwinter in the porch out of the rain.
This however is the scourge of lily growers – the red lily beetle. Most days I check my plants and any beetles are dealt with accordingly. By this I mean they are all caught in a tissue and stamped on with full force !! Why the tissue – because if they drop off the plant they always land on their back and show their black underside – impossible to see on the soil. Have to keep checking all summer, otherwise they eat all the leaves and flowers.
Their offspring are altogether absolutely revolting, covering themselves with their own excretia (sorry!) so I try to get rid of the adults before they have a chance to lay their eggs. To think that such gorgeous flowers could have such a deadly enemy !!
Lilies, in spite of this, will always be one of my favourite plants, must try more in different colours, its only just dawned on me that most of mine are white !