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Luscious Lilies

Written By Shauna Lambeth 28 Jun 2022
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. Plant with 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

With their wide upward facing flowers displayed on masse, these are the lilies that create the most vibrant splashes of colour.  Favoured by florists you often see Asiatic lilies in mixed bouquets. From deep dark purple to eye-popping bicolours and almost every other colour, you can think of.  When the butterflies first arrive in June it is often the Asiatic lilies I see them on first. Asiatic lilies are sometimes 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 18-45 inches
  • Hardy to zone 2

Trumpet lilies (Aurelian Hybrids)

The first of the fragrant lilies to bloom; the trumpet lilies announce 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 ageing 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 Mom, who is a fantastic New Zealand gardener, always has vases of these Christmas lilies indoors and the fragrance fills their home.
  • Blooms late June to mid-July (in Canada)
  • Height 4-5'
  • Hardy to zone 4

Tiger lilies (Lilium lancifolium-formerly L. tigrimum)

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 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 

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 in 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 doubles and 
dwarf types. Classic favourites include 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)

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


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