When it comes to fragrance in our gardens, there are few plants that can rival the lily. We've been growing them for thousands of years and it's easy to see why. Not only are they beautiful, but they have a sweet aroma.
Lilies are true bulbs and success in growing them depends on the variety you choose, the condition of the bulbs you select, and how you plant them. This is a large family of plants and some are easier to grow than others.
If you're just getting started, you might try some of the Asiatic lilies. While they're not as fragrant as some, they've very durable. I've grown a variety in my garden for year's called Sterling Star. The Oriental hybrids can be a little fussier to grow, but the fragrance makes the effort worthwhile.
Now, I've only scratched the surface of lilies, there's lot of varieties out there to choose from. But whatever you choose, you always want to make sure that the bulbs are firm and that they have plenty of fresh fleshy white roots. A bulb that's soft and shriveled with withered roots should be avoided.
As a rule, lilies need excellent drainage, so when I plant I always incorporate some sand or even small gravel in the bottom of the hole. I also work in some compost and bone meal and then spread the roots out gently before covering them up.
If you're into instant gratification and don't mind spending a little more money, you can often find them grown in containers like this. But for me, the thing I like the most about lilies, is that they're a long lasting perennial that I can always depend on to come back in my garden.
From the garden, I'm Allen Smith.
P. Allen Smith Gardens
© 1997 Hortus, Ltd