Gardening / For the love of lingering lilies

“With the range of varieties and colours available, no garden is complete without lilies,” writes CEDRIC BRYANT

ONE of florists’ favourite flowers is the lilium (or lily) because they can be delivered in bud and open slowly over one to two weeks.

It’s lily planting time… no garden is complete without them.

It’s lily planting time… no garden is complete without them.

Equally so for those who love to have flowers in the home, now is the time to plant lilies.

There are more than 80 recorded species belonging to this genus, all from the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. With the range of varieties and colours available, no garden is complete without them.

The bulbs are easy to grow in a sunny spot provided the soil has perfect drainage. They will not tolerate heavy clay soils that can become waterlogged in wet weather. In such soils, mix in coarse washed river sand combined with other organic matter, such as rotted leaves, which are plentiful at present. Alternatively, plant in a raised bed for drainage. It is important not to plant the bulb too deep with no more than 2-3 cm of soil over the bulb.

Lilies are synonymous with St Anthony, the wonder worker of Padua, always shown in pictures with white lilies. It is part of tradition in Christian art to use lilies as a symbol of purity when portraying Our Lady and the Saints. Lilies are of particular significance with this saint as they flower in Europe on St Anthony’s Feast Day, June 13.

Lilies can be seen growing wild along the road near Mogo, out of Batemans Bay. It has been suggested that as they multiply so readily they should be classed as an environmental weed. You can guess my thoughts on that!

LIRIODENDRON tulipifera, or tulip tree, with its flowers resembling big tulip-shaped flowers and distinctive leaves is a superb, large deciduous tree for shade even without the flowers.

 Lapageria albiflora “White Cloud” or Chilean Bellflower… six years for it to flower.

Lapageria albiflora “White Cloud” or Chilean Bellflower… six years for it to flower.

It is said that it takes seven years to flower. We had one in a previous house and, yes, it came delightfully into flower in its seventh year.

A plant that takes up considerably less space is the climber Lapageria albiflora “White Cloud” or Chilean Bellflower. It has taken ours six years to reach 1.5m and produce one flower. And in the past week, in its seventh year, it has three flowers.

Is it worth growing? A look at the flowers and the answer is a definite yes, especially as it flowers in winter. There is also a rose-coloured variety L.a. “Rosea”. I would be interested in hearing from readers who may be growing this delightful climber of their success or otherwise.

“HOW do I get rid of ants on my shrubs?” is a frequent question to me. Do not be in a hurry to get rid of ants if you see them climbing up trees and shrubs. Ants are friends of the gardener.

Often ants are an indicator of scale insects that suck all the goodness, especially the sugars, out of leaves. Ants, as we all know, love sugar and will attack the scale insects for that sugar. They also attack aphids for the same honeydew, protecting such other friendlies as ladybirds. They are only a nuisance when they get inside the home or build nests under paving. But treat them as friends in your garden.

DIARY date: The Horticultural Society will conduct rose-pruning demonstrations on Saturday, July 19 in the Woodfield’s garden at 1 Spence Place, Hughes, and on Sunday, July 20 at the society’s demonstration garden, corner of Battye Street and Weston Lane, Bruce. This will also include fruit tree pruning. Both from 1pm to 4pm and all welcome.

Jottings…

• Continue to feed lemon trees monthly as the fruit matures with a high potassium nutrient and trace elements such as tomato fertiliser.

• For a colourful winter display in a container, hanging garden or even in the garden, mix and match ericas with cyclamen and violas.

• It is still not too late this year to sow seeds of broad beans and snow peas.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Leave your opinion here. Please be nice. Your Email address will be kept private.
%d bloggers like this: