Wednesday, 7 August 2013

My lilies

My oriental lilies are finally flowering! I wish scented blog photos were invented so you could smell my garden right now, it is like standing in the middle of a flower shop, with your face buried in a sea of lilies! All the plants in my garden has been very late to flower this year, thanks to the exceptionally cold spring we had, it seems like the delay has just continued and still is. I never thought I had to wait until August to get my oriental lilies in flower!

This is 'Monte Negro', one of only two Asiatic lilies I have. They are not scented and I have been getting rid of all the un-scented lilies the last couple of years but this dark red one has been allowed to stay since I like the colour so much.

My Lilium regale flowered last month, the first of the oriental lilies to flower. It was very hot when they flowered so the season was over in just a couple of weeks. Normally it lasts a lot longer, as with around 80 Lilium regale, half on the sunny side and half on the shady side, the flowering season can last up to a month – but not in 30-32 degrees C weather every day as we had.

Lilium regale is my favourite lily of all I have, and I started with just 3 bulbs I got as a present. The rest of them are babies grown from seeds over the years.

The scent of Lilium regale is just heavenly, just like a lily should smell!

The rest of my around 150 lilies have been flowering the last week, I say around 150 – when you get to a number like that it is difficult to count exactly how many there are! This is 'Stargazer' to the left and on the right some from an oriental mix which I don’t know if have any specific name – it was called Oriental mix on the bag and they come in different colours.

Lilium, Oriental mix.

Lilium, Oriental mix.

Lilium, Oriental mix.

These white lilies are just called giant white lilies, not all lilies have impressive names given to them!

Oriental giant white lilies.

Oriental giant white lilies.

This cute lily is called 'Mona Lisa'.

Another lily from the Oriental mix, this one has speckled petals.

More Oriental mix, I’ve got them spread around the whole garden! The good thing about lilies is that they do better in shade or semi shade than they do in full sunshine, excellent for my west-facing garden.

More Stargazer, this time in my sunny border.

Lilium ‘Stargazer’.

This one looks like Stargazer but isn’t, it is part of a lily mix collection I bought some years ago and I have no name for it.

Lily mix collection.

These lilies are the absolute gems of my garden, the 3 lilies in the centre of the photo. You can hardly see the one to the right, half buried by the hydrangea, but it is there. They are goliath lilies and called Oriental Giant Goliath 'Miss Feya’ and this is the second year I have them. By next year they will probably reach the top of the fence and the year after possibly up to 2.5m tall. I am not sure why they are so different in height, as they are the same age, but it is in any case very good the middle one has decided to be the tallest!

'Miss Feya’ up close, I just love this lily with its up-turned flowers, so convenient for a lily that is expected to be 2.5m tall! There are 8 goliath lilies available, I wish I could have them all, I just don’t know where to put them!

My daylilies are still flowering, this is Hemerocallis 'Frans Hals' and I have 5 of this dotted around the garden.

And this is Hemerocallis 'Burning Daylight' and I have only one of this. I also bought a new daylily this spring, Hemerocallis ‘Moonlit Masquerade’, but it hasn’t flowered this year so I hope it will look lovely next year.

That was the end of the lily tour, in a week or two it will all be over, perhaps with the exception of the goliath lilies, and a whole year to wait for the lilies to appear again. I can’t get enough lilies and since they all are tall, slim with a very small footprint I can always manage to squeeze some in between other plants. I think my 150 or so lily collection will have grown by this time next year! Until next time, take care.

34 comments:

  1. Helene! great news!! I COULD smell the 150 lilies all the way over here in Canada! (Don't I wish :)
    But I can just imagine how heavenly your garden must be right now. I tried to choose a favourite lily but couldn't. All of them were lovely. What a great idea to have so many lilies that bloom at a time when most summer blooms are almost gone and autumn flowers have not yet started. Thanks for the tour.

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    1. You're welcome - and I wish they would smell all the way over to you! Normally my lilies would be finished flowering by middle of July, apart from the goliath lily, but as you know, it has been a late year, everything has just been equally late. I don't mind having lilies in August, but it is a bit strange :-)

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  2. I quite agree -- scented blogs should be the very next invention! What's the point of finding water on Mars when what we all really want to inhale that gorgeous fragrance of flowers from your garden. That Monte Negro is quite a looker -- no wonder it survived your purge. I quite like the wavy edges to some of your lily petals. Do you dead head after they've bloomed and let the leaves die back?

    Thank you for the tour!

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    1. I deadhead all the lilies as and when needed, but I always leave one seed head on each of the most mature Lilium regale, as I every year plant seeds for next year. They are so easy to grow! I haven’t tried growing any of the other lilies, I will try this year, some of them might be sterile though so it will be a question of just trial and error. That’s how I do gardening! And yes, I always let the stalks go properly brown before cutting them off, usually on my big garden clear-up just before Christmas, but it depends on how cold the weather has been, sometimes they stay until February.

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  3. Ooooo, Stargazer is one of my all-time favorites! What is your secret, Helene?! Do you have a particular compost or fertilizing treatment that you recommend? Gosh, I would love to visit. ;-)

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    1. I have never fertilised any of my mature lilies! Those I buy as bulbs grow in ordinary compost in pots the first year and get planted out in the ground just after flowering is finished, or I just plant them straight in the ground, it depends if I buy single colour or mixed colour – I don’t want to plant mixed colours straight in the ground as I won’t know which colours would end up where. Those I grow from seeds get no fertiliser the first two years but year three and four, if they are still in the pots they get a teaspoon of slow release ericaceous fertiliser. But I have acid soil and bark mulch everywhere, I think that makes good growing conditions for them, and I make sure to plant lilies among other plants, they like having their bulbs and roots shaded. That’s it really, lilies are easy to grow in my part of the world :-)

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  4. Helene how beautiful your lillies are. I have one this year for the first time. And I loved to see the flowers.
    Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Thank you Marijke, now that you have lily you will soon get some more, it is easy to get hooked, I started with only three in 2004 and I have 150 now :-)
      Have a great day!

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  5. I bet your neighbours love the scent wafting over the fence; they will love it even more when Miss Feya peeps over the top of the fence next year. Yet again, you are showing how much can be packed into a garden! You are an inspiration, Helene!

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    1. Thank you! One of my neighbours has commented on the lovely scent of my lilies, and they have 15 of my Lilium regale in their own garden, from when I did up that garden for a previous tenant who lived there (2 years ago).
      I am considering giving Miss Feya a sister, there is one called Miss Lily, and also one called Anastasia - same height on all of them when mature. But that would mean growing them in between the bushes in that bed, and not just up against the fence so not sure about that yet...but I really want more of them :-)

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  6. Helene,your lilies are stunning, especially I love regale. I had them some years ago but they are not enough hardy. Do you grow them in pots or in ground? Do you store them in your house in winter?

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    1. My lilies are all grown in the ground, no need to lift lilies during the winter in England :-)
      Sometimes I grow them in pots the first year, just to see what colour they become if I buy cheap lily bulb mix, but then I plant them in the ground. The only exception is some of my Stargazer lilies, which grows happily in a larger container, they have been there for around 5 years now and I think they can just continue to grow there, no need to move them somewhere else, although it is a bit tight on space!

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  7. Oh, my! Like you, I love lilies, and find them easy to squeeze into the garden. I don't have as many as you, although I'm beginning to acquire more of them in my garden. They are such lovely, regal, and enchanting flowers. They don't last long here in our heat, so you have much better conditions for them, but I now can't imagine a garden without them. I love your Mona Lisa, and the giant white ones, but I have to say that the regales are just gorgeous. Love that touch of pink on their backs.

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    1. I also love that touch of pink/purple on the back of the Lilium regale, but what I love most about them is their scent and that they are so easy to multiply by seeds! Mine flowered during one of the July heat waves here, with well over 30 degrees C every day, they went off much faster outdoors than indoors as cut flowers, which is usually the opposite!

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  8. Simply beautiful Helene! It's just not high summer without the fragrance of oriental lilies wafting across the garden. One of my favorites! Thank you for sharing your beautiful collection! I'm inspired to plant more!

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    1. Thanks, glad you got inspired, have you tried goliath lilies? You don't need much space, just upwards :-)

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  9. Great collection Helene... I had purchased some lilies that I forgot about after planting last fall... now that I see your Miss Feya, it seems real familiar and looks like some that bloomed this season. I stay away from the straight orientals here as they seem to lose vigor after two years. It's quite the opposite with the orienpets.... Larry

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    1. I have some too that have failed to flower after a few years, but all of them have been in the sun, none on my shady side. I have decided to give up having lilies on the sunny side of my garden, despite lilies being able to tolerate full sun - they don't seem to do that in my garden. They lose their leaves very early and don't get enough nutrition to store for next year and then fail to bloom again. On my shady side however, the lilies are doing very well, and I have more shade/semi-shade than sun so no problem, more lilies on order for this autumn!

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  10. 150!! WOW! They are beauties and are perfect for your small garden. I have giant white trumpet lilies that I love. Their fragrance is so powerful I can't bring them inside.

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    1. Oh, I know what you mean - I do bring some Lilium regale inside every year, but can't have them in the living room, they are too strongly scented, I keep them in the kitchen and the whole house smells lovely :-)

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  11. Replies
    1. The best scent of all my flowers!

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  12. What a treat to see your lily collection Helene! They are all gorgeous and very regal looking. I can just imagine the fragrance that must fill your garden.

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    1. Thanks, yes although they are beautiful to look at, the scent is why I grow them!

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  13. My goodness, you have so many different lilies, I love the flowers and the scent. I have always troubles with the lilies, we have so many lily beatles, I try to catch them but there are new ones every day.

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    1. I use an organic pesticide made from fermented soy oil and herbs, that keeps the population of lily beetles down. I have hardly seen any beetles the last few years, only in the beginning of the season when I make sure to 'patrol' the garden and pick them before they get the opportunity to lay eggs.

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  14. Helene, what an amazing collection you have! You are right, they smell so heavenly. With the number of lilies you have you must be able to smell them straight through to your house :) Do you find their smell intensifies the warmer the air gets?

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    1. Yes, especially when it has been sunny during the day, then in the evening the lilies will smell stronger. I have lilies all around my seating area, it is like sitting in a florist shop :-)

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  15. Helene - I remember your post about propogating lilies - such dedication, taking several years. So when I look at your lilies now they are even more beautiful for knowing how much work you have put into them. I have one lily which looks like your stargazer - I can't even imagine its exquisite scent multiplied by 150.

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    1. Thanks, my lilies are my babies in a way - well so are my roses too, and my fuchsias and hellebores and...OK, I'll shut up - you get the drift! But even so, I think lilies will always have a special place with me, in fact, I am these days sourcing new lilies to buy for a bed I am redesigning, one can never have too many lilies!!

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  16. I so enjoyed the lily tour, Helene! I do believe their intoxicating scent wafted all the way over here. Of all the beauties, 'Stargazer' takes the cake for me followed by 'Ms Feya.' Of course, your daylilies are absolutely lovely too. I hope 'Moonlit Masquerade' blooms for you this year. All the best! :-)

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    1. Thanks Beth, I do think it will be too late for 'Moonlit Masquerade' this year but I hope it will flower gorgeously next year. I also love 'Stargazer', such an amazing scent, no wonder it is the florists' number one choice over here!

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  17. Your lillies look amazing, Helene. I love the perfume of lillies hence I started growing them in my garden. They had dark purple flowers but unfortunately they didn't produce any perfume. I was so dissapointed. Is it only the white flowers that smell?

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    1. There are two main types of lilies (and some other, smaller groups too), the Asian or Asiatic lilies and the Oriental lilies. The Asiatic lilies have hardly ever any scent, the Oriental lilies have almost always lovely scent. The oriental lilies can be found in a whole range of colours so next time you buy, look for Oriental lilies. There are also some trumpet lilies that are scented, like my Lilium regale, I can warmly recommend them, they are white with a bit of purple on the outside. If you want a dark pink, lovely scented lily, look for ‘Stargazer’, you can see it on my blog. ‘Salinas’ is red-purple and ‘Gold band’ is yellow-white with freckles – all lovely and scented. Good luck!

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