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“Look to the lilies how they grow!”
                                     — Mair.

WHO has not felt the lure of the Lily, and how many, like myself, have withstood the siren call in fear of the pitfalls she is said to spread for her admirers? For a long time no Lily gleamed within my garden, and I comforted myself — like the small boy who will do great deeds when he is old — with the promise that when I became a really experienced gardener I would have them in plenty.

But what we found when we came to live in this place completely upset all my theories upon Lily growing, for here, in the unkempt dooryard, grew Lilies, in a luxuriance undreamed, successfully disputing with the purple Phlox and rioting old-fashioned Roses in the tangled grass for room to “rise and shine.” True, there were but two sorts, L. candidum, growing in spreading patches at the foot of a splendid purple Clematis vine which wreathed the porch, and L. tigrinum, which in its season sent up dozens and dozens of five-foot stalks hanging out innumerable great orange-coloured funnels in hilarious discord with the magenta Phloxes. Here was no frail delicacy or capriciousness, and feeling that I had lost much time the Lily lists at once became a source of absorbing interest and one which necessitated much self-control, for Lilies bought in any quantity are pretty expensive.

All authorities tell us that no garden will grow all the Lilies; indeed, to find half a dozen which will accept our conditions is highly fortunate. I had no way of finding out which ones were suited to my soil and situation and so experiment was the only course, and after several years’ trial given to sixteen sorts can report that seven have accepted the garden absolutely, three have not quite made up their minds, and six will have none of us. My experience with Lilies has been only in the garden proper, grown in the beds and borders among other hardy plants, but, of course, if one wishes to specialize a bit it is possible to prepare beds for them filled with the soil best suited to their needs, but my own interest is only in finding those which need no greater consideration than is given to the other hardy plants, and which may be counted upon for a fine effect in their season. There are about eighty known species of Lily, but for those with aspirations akin to my own, and in our climate, I should say that the choice should be limited to about twenty-five.

One of the most important facts to know about Lilies is that many have two sets of roots, one growing from the base of the bulb in autumn to provide food for the bulb, and the other from the base of the stem in spring to provide for the needs of the flowers and leaves to come. Those double-rooted Lilies must be planted more deeply than the single-rooted sorts, for if the upper set of roots is too near the surface of the soil they will be insufficiently supplied with moisture and often burned and injured by the sun, and while the bulb may remain alive it will be overtaxed and weakened by the extra strain put upon it and there will be no flowers, or at least very poor and imperfect ones. Dr. Wallace, in his “Notes on Lilies,” states as his belief the fact that the deadly disease which yearly destroys so many auratum and other double-rooting Lilies is usually caused by the shallow planting of the bulbs. They should be set at least eight inches below the surface of the soil, while for the single-rooting sorts five or six is sufficient. L. auratum, Batemanniae, Brownii, croceum, Henryi, elegans, longiflorum, tigrinum, speciosum, Hansoni, Kramer are some of those which grow two sets of roots and, as among these are some of the loveliest and most useful of Lilies, we must do what we can to bring about the conditions which tend to their highest development.

Few Lilies do well in sun unless the stems are protected, and so we make a charming virtue of necessity and clothe the tender stems with the foliage of other plants. In shady places ferns make a most exquisite setting for Lilies, and in the sunny borders many plants may be called upon to serve the same purpose. Of these none is more charming than Dicentra eximia with its fernlike foliage, but on account of its pink flowers it may be used only with Lilies of white, pink, or buff colouring — candidum, speciosum, Brownii. Other good plants for the purpose are Corydalis lutea and cheilanthifolia, Funkias subcordata and Sieboldii, Nepeta Mussini, Artemisia Stelleriana and Abrotanum, Rue, Columbine, Thalictrum minus, and the large-leaved Saxifrages.

Some kinds of Lilies1 are said to prefer a heavy, peaty soil, among them being L. auratum, tigrinum, Hansoni, giganteum, Washingtonianum, Humboldtii, testaceum, and Martagon. Of those reputed to do best in light soils are L. Philadetphicum, bulbifenum, croceum, dahuricum, concolor, elegans, candidum, longiflorum, chalcedonicum, and speciosum. I think it well, however, not to take these lists as final, but to find out fdr one’s self what Lilies one’s soil will entertain successfully.

The soil recommended in Bailey’s “Cyclopedia of American Horticulture” as being the most generally suited to Lilies is a light, rich loam freely mixed with sand and grit. Standing water about the bulbs is a most frequent cause of destruction, and to guard against this it is well to give the bulbs a cushion and covering of sand when setting them out. The Japanese place Lily bulbs which have widely spreading scales upon the side to prevent water lodging between the scales and thus rotting the bulb; L. Brownii is best thus treated. Fresh manure is very injurious to the bulbs, and never should come into contact with them, but a heavy mulch of well-rotted stuff in winter is advisable, and liquid manure applied during the growing season is beneficial.

Except for L. candidum, which should be planted in August, Lilies may be planted any time in the autumn. When the bulbs arrive they should be carefully examined and all torn or rotted scales removed, and if there are small decayed spots these should be rubbed with powdered charcoal or sulphur; a dusting with powdered sulphur is a wise precaution in any case. If Lilies show by their vigour and beauty that they are at peace they should not be disturbed until they show signs of overcrowding, but if for any reason it is necessary, or desirable, to move them I think the best time to do it is when the bulb is in early growth. It may be done with a fair measure of success when in flower, which is sometimes convenient in moving wild sorts from their native home to the garden, the important consideration being to keep the bulb out of the ground for as short a space as possible.

Of course, the first Lilies to engage our attention were those we found here, and these, after the first year, were removed to the new garden as the dooryard was in such a hopeless tangle that it required strenuous measures. The Tiger Lilies suffered the change most graciously, but the lovely white Madonna Lilies have sulked a bit. In the dooryard they had probably been left absolutely alone for years, and the ground over their bulbs was baked as hard as iron, and these conditions are, the wise ones tell us, exactly what this Lily prefers: it will stand anything save damp and coddling, and sometimes it will do well and sometimes it will not, whatever the conditions. Certainly it is loveliest of Lilies, and when one is vouchsafed a truly happy group of them, shining above the hoary foliage of Southernwood or in some other pleasant association, one is filled with rejoicing. One may dust the bulbs well with sulphur, set them out in August in a sunny spot, and leave them alone — and, of course, one may hope.

With the Tiger Lilies the story is quite different, for they seldom have the heart to disappoint any one, and they are among the very finest of hardy plants. Many people care only for the rare and difficult in the floral world, but it is not with these that we get our broad and satisfying colour masses, however interesting it may be to conquer and bring into subjection the wild spirit of some unwilling plant from torrid or frigid zone, from mountain peak or desert sands, and the ease with which this Lily may be coaxed to give of its best, and the small cost at which it may be procured, should not prevent its receiving the recognition which it richly deserves.

We have several line colonies of Tiger Lilies in our borders, one in association with blue and white Monks-hood and tall white Phlox is particularly good, and another with pale-yellow Mulleins and metallic Sea Hollies is also good. A little larger and finer in every way than the common Tiger Lily is L. tigrimum var. splendens, and there is a double sort which is not an improvement. Tiger Lilies belong to late July and August.

The speciosum Lilies were next to come into the garden and have proved themselves entirely trustworthy under ordinary garden conditions. There is the frosted var. album, the garnet-jewelled var. rubrum, and the more brilliant Melpomene, and I think there are still others. These Lilies are not so tall as the Tigers, but make splendid groups, which may be effectively intermingled with Dicentra eximia. They bloom in late August, and their refined beauty is pleasing in this season of rank foliage and high colours.

The three native Lilies, L. superbum, canadense, and Philadelphicum, are well worth bringing into the garden. Most of us are fortunate enough to know them in their natural environment, for they are very plentiful. L. superbum rises superb indeed from many a swamp of the middle and northern states, its tall, strong stem carrying from twelve to twenty-five orange-scarlet, recurved blossoms spotted brown. This Lily does very well in good garden soil if given a bit of shade and a ground cover. It blooms in July and August.

Gay L. canadense grows about here in the low meadows as thickly as the Buttercups, and I have transplanted many to the garden borders where they are quite content, save in very dry summers when my water supply is low. Philadelphicum, not quite so plentiful as the other two, is still fairly familiar to many of us. It grows plentifully on Nantucket Island and creates a brilliant spectacle, holding its glistening scarlet flowers erectly through the long grass of dry meadows. This Lily is a little more difficult to catch and tame than the two others, and like many another wild thing loses much of its flash and individuality when brought under restraint.

We have, however, in the elegans type, Lilies much like L. philadelphicum in character. They are orange or scarlet in colour and are carried erectly. These are among the easiest of Lilies to manage. I have them in various parts of the garden, but mainly in borders in the west and south, and they have increased at a great rate. They are dwarf in stature, usually not over a foot high, and some are less. They bloom with us the latter part of June, and there are many fine hybrids. Of these, Alice Wilson is a splendid lemon-yellow sort. Other very good varieties are Peter Barr, soft yellow; Van Houttei, bright scarlet; Orange Queen — Prince of Orange — apricot with black spots. I believe the beautiful L. Batemanniae is a member of the elegans family, though it is not usually catalogued as such, and is fully four feet tall when well grown. Its Lilies are pure, unspotted apricot in colour, and they are carried erectly. J am sorry to say that this is one of those that has not quite made up its mind about our garden, but I am always hoping to turn the tide in our favour.

One more splendidly coloured, erectly carried Lily we have in the garden, and this, I am rejoiced to say, is not one of the uncertainties. No finer Lily grows than L. croceum, the Orange or Herring Lily of old gardens. It is perfectly hardy and will thrive in full sunshine in any good garden soil, or it does well in partial shade. It bears several soft orange-coloured flowers, spotted dull red, on a four-foot stalk, and it blooms with the Delphiniums, with which it is very charming.

Two other Lilies remain that are doing well and increasing in this garden: the vivid little L. tenuifolium and the beautiful Brownii. The former is a Siberian and grows but a foot and a half high. It bears from six to ten small, fiercely scarlet, waxen Lilies to a stalk, and the leaves are fine and numerous. It is perfectly hardy but enjoys a shaded spot, and its slenderness of growth unfits it to appear with large, coarse plants. It is a brilliant and lovely Lily, particularly happy when grown among ferns. The fact that L. Brownii accepted our garden without a complaint is a matter for much congratulation, for it is a most splendid Lily and one not considered so easy to manage. It grows here in a west border in very light soil and has a ground cover of large-leaved Saxifrages. The tall, wand-like stalks carry from two to four ivory-coloured, funnel-shaped blooms2 the outside of which is a soft chocolate colour, and the orange-coloured anthers give just the touch of brilliance needed to make the soft harmony of ivory and chocolate perfect. It blooms in late July and early August. Dampness is its great enemy and we should imitate the Japanese, who lay the bulbs upon their sides to prevent water lodging between the scales.

From now on the recital is not so triumphant. I planted with high hopes L. Krameri, also known as japonicum. Just once it bore its lovely pink funnel-shaped flowers and forever disappeared. Mr. Adams, in his very helpful book “Lilies,” which I did not possess at the time, says that this Lily is “very erratic and in cold climates safest in pots. Prefers light, rich, sandy loam, or peat and good drainage.” With L. Washingtonianum I fared no better and know now that I gave none of the conditions that the poor Lily craved. It is one of the Californians, all difficult to manage in our eastern gardens, but this one said to be less so than the others if its requirements are observed. It loves a deep, peaty soil, with generous additions of coarse sand and leaf-mold and never-failing moisture-at the roots. Also it is most comfortable in partial shade. Humboldtii is another Californian, something like superbum in appearance, but taller, which, while not a complete failure here, is certainly not a success. It prefers a deep, peaty soil, and is not at all of a mind to give any very fine showing on plain garden fare. L. Hansoni2 I have hopes of, for while its blooms this year were few and poor, it was its first year and it is too soon to put it down as a complete failure. This Lily is bright orange, spotted brown. It has rather a pleasant perfume and its petals are waxen and reflexed. Mr. Adams says it is “quite hardy and easy of culture.” He recommends a light loam and says that it should be planted among shrubs or low plants to protect the young shoots, as it is one of the earliest Lilies to appear in spring.

L. auratum, the Gold Banded Lily of Japan, is by many considered the finest Lily in cultivation, and certainly it is the largest and most magnificent of my limited acquaintance, but sad to tell it is one of those which will not accept my garden as its home, and for this I owe it a grudge, for I would dearly love to have it and have done much to enchain its capricious fancy. It is comforting to read in Mr. C. L. Allen’s book on bulbs that “L. auratum has disappointed more of its admirers than almost any other Lily, because of its failure to adapt itself to our soil and climate.” Many authorities agree that this Lily must be renewed every three or four years, as it “runs out.” Its preference in the way of soil is for moist peat with a mixture of sand and leaf-mold, and it particularly requires good drainage and partial shade. This fine Lily grows from five to eight feet tall and is capable of bearing twenty-five superb white, gold-banded blossoms on a single stalk; it is also capable of bearing just one, as I know from sad experience. It blooms in late July and August.

These are but a few of the Lilies at our command, but it is as far as I have got with the Lily lists. The following is a list of those sorts which nearly all authorities agree that we may attempt with a reasonable assurance of success:

Lilium Batemanniae          Lilium Martagon
     "    Brownii                           "      monadelphum
     "    bulbiferum                     "       pardalinum
     "    canadense                    "       philadelphicum
     "    candidum                      "       poniponium
     "    chalcedonicum            "       pyrenaicum
     "    croceum                        "       speciosum
     "    dauricum                       "       superbum
     "    elegans                         "       tenuifolium
     "    Grayi                              "       testaceum
     "    Hansoni                        "       tigrinum
     "    Henryi                           "       Washingtonianum
     "    Humboldtii

 1 In the July Garden Magazine for 1915 Mr. E. H. Wilson, in a most interesting article on Lilies, insists that the reputed desire on the part of Lilies for a peaty soil is pure fiction: that the major portion of them are found growing in desert places, on dry, rocky hillsides or in volcanic deposits, and that even the so-called "moisture lovers” grow in the swamps on little hillock, which are quite dry in winter. This would quite revolutionize the science of Lily growing, which has so far brought about most indifferent results, and teach us to give our Lilies a poor, gritty soil with good, sharp drainage.

 2 Hansoni has improved sufficiently in its third year to be considered one of those that has accepted the garden. Humboldtii is also getting settled.

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