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Luscious Lilies

With the first breath of summer comes the beauty of lilies. Graceful lily flowers are a favourite in many gardens with certain varieties creating bold splashes of colour, a rich heady fragrance or dramatic vertical accents.  Often gardeners have a favourite, like the lovely fragrant Stargazer Oriental Lily, but by adding more varieties you can have lilies that bloom from mid-June to September.  Most lilies are very easy to grow; a little bonemeal and steer manure and they will reward you with years and years of enjoyment both in your garden and as cut flowers.

Asiatic Lilies

Asiatic Lily LollypopWith their wide upward facing flowers displayed on masse these are the lilies that create the most vibrant splashes of colour.  From deep dark purple that is almost black like L. 'Landini' to eye popping bicoloured L. 'Lollypop' that is white with deep roses tips on her petals and almost every other colour you can think of.  Asiatic lilies are often overlooked as they are not fragrant but they are the first to bloom in June and so showy and easy to grow they are a welcome addition to any garden.

Bloom Mid June-early July

Height 30-45 inches

Hardy to zone 2

Trumpet lilies (Aurelian Hybrids)

Regale Trumpet Lily

 The first of the fragrant lilies to bloom the trumpet lilies truly trumpet the beginning of summer.  They are tall lilies growing 4-5' tall so staking is often recommended but what I do is I plant a cluster of 3 or 5 between large shrubs like rhododendrons and hydrangeas and then they stand up on their own between the shrubs.  Trumpet lilies are available in white, pink, yellow and an amber- orange colour that always reminds me of the aging tinge that heady tropical flowers like gardenias have.   The gorgeously fragrant white trumpet lily, Lilium 'Regale', is the Christmas lily of New Zealand blooming "down under" in mid to late December and heralding the New Zealand Summer/Christmas Season.  Nigel's Kiwi Mom, who is a fantastic gardener by the way, always has these Christmas lilies cut indoors and the fragrance fills their home.

Blooms late June to mid July

Height 4-5'

Hardy to zone 4


Tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium-formerly L. tigrimum)

Tiger Lily

My favourite thing about tiger lilies is their freckles!  Most of us think first of the classic orange tiger lily, with her friendly freckles on dainty backward arching petals, and she is beautiful, but there are other colours including  white, pink, yellow and red.  Tiger lilies bulbs multiply easily, as other lilies do, but they also grow shiny black bulbils along their stems which can be planted like seeds. 

Blooms late July-August

Height 3'

Hardy to zone 2


Oriental lilies 

Lily Salmon Stargazer

Dwarf Oriental Lily Starlight Express

Most gardeners already know and love at least one of the Oriental lilies.  Tall stately and heavenly fragrant they are one of the best bloomers our west coast August gardens.  No matter what the weather does through winter, spring or summer the Oriental lilies show up to the party in August dressed to the nines and ready to knock your socks off.  New varieties include the some gorgeous double varieties such as L. 'Miss Lucy' , a delightful peachy-salmon variety  L. 'Salmon Star', and two dwarf types  L. 'Rosy Dimples'(soft pink and only 18" tall ) and L. 'Starlight Express' (deep red with bright white edges 22" tall).  Classic favourites are always gorgeous like L. 'Stargazer '(rosy-red with white edges) and, L. 'Casablanca' (huge white blooms).

Blooms August to mid September

Height 18-48" tall

Hardy to zone 4


Tree lilies (Oriental x Trumpet hybrids)

Tree Lily Conca D'Or

These lilies have gained themselves the common name of tree lilies because they grow very tall (44-48") on strong stems and bloom like mad.  Unbelievably beautiful in your garden, plant them where you want to enjoy them and where you can smell their heady fragrance.  Last year my lovely soft yellow Conca D'Or lily had nearly 40 flowers on it!  Now, that would be hard to fit into a vase. 

Blooms July-Aug

Height 44-48" tall

Hardy to zone 4