What should I be doing in the Garden this month?
As the weather forecast looks somewhat promising we are going to start despatch of lily orders this week. Given their exquisite flowers, exotic fragrances, varying heights and shapes and the amazing spectrum of colours it is of little wonder that lilies rank fourth amongst global popularity of flowers.
Lilies are very versatile and the majority thrive in semi-shade or full sun. Below are a few key pointers to remember when planting your lilies.
- Most lilies prefer dappled shade. The old adage of cooler roots and sunny flowers is well suited to lilies. Planting among small shrubs and dwarf conifers is particularly effective.
- Lilies are heavy feeders. Like most bulbs lilies prefer a free-draining loamy soil with a high humus content.
- Bulb sizes can vary significantly between species but all lilies benefit from deep planting. As a rule of thumb plant at a depth of three times the size of the bulb. However, don’t plant deeper than soil conditions and cultivation allow, lilies are able to adjust their depth in the soil through their root system once established.
- Most lilies make basal and then stem roots when they start to grow in the spring. A top dressing in the spring is essential to maintain vigorous growth.
If you are put off planting in the border immediately for fear of disturbing existing bulbs don’t be. The ideal solution is to plant your lilies in pots either for the terrace or to be placed in the border later in the year (there will be plenty of summer foliage to hide the pots).
When planting lilies this way always try and use the biggest pots possible. Lilies are heavy feeders. To get the best results year on year they will benefit from a fresh top dressing in the autumn after flowering. Use a rich well-drained compost to suit the bulbs you are planting.
Lilies are a true investment, naturalising and multiplying these elegant blooms will bestow years of pleasure.