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May 27, 2017

Impress Your Neighbours With Goliath Lilies

Tree Lilly Yellow

liliesBotanical Name: Lilium.     Common Name:  Goliath lilies or Tree lilies

There are hundreds of lilies and the art of growing lilies to perfection is a hobby in itself, but in recent years plant breeders have crossed the oriental with the Asiatic lily and produced this goliath lily which surpasses all lilies that I know in size and fragrance, and it grows with ease anywhere. I have some in my allotment for cutting and others in my front garden as the picture shows. If passers by are not impressed by anything else in my garden then this is the head turner which makes them stop and stare!

It will grow around 1 metre in the first year and will continue to grow taller and bigger with more flowers every year. I have had mine for about 3 years and they now rise to around 1.8m.

Buying and planting guide.

tree liliesI have never seen them for sale in garden centres, but mail order companies sell the bulbs of this lily during the Autumn and Spring. J. Parkers call them Goliath O. T. (Oriental trumpet) lilies whilst in the catalogues of  Thompson & Morgan ,  and Van Meuwen you will find them under tree lilies.  The bulbs are generally larger than normal lily bulbs and cost a couple of pounds each but they are often offered at half price in the J. Parkers catalogue. This is their write up “will reach a height of 2.5m with up to 40 large 20cm. dia. flowers per bulb. Plant at the back of the border and leave undisturbed. By the third year they will attain their full size “. Even if it is a bit of an exaggeration as most catalogues do – it is still worth having! Plant them as soon as they arrive to avoid them drying out. It is advisable to tie them to a stake during the first two years, but in subsequent years the stem is so strong it does not even need staking. As the stem emerges, it is too big for a slug’s supper and they leave them alone, their only real enemy is the lily beetle. This is a bright red coloured flying beetle, which you don’t see in your garden until you plant lilies – it must smell them from miles away and suddenly turn up! Tell tale signs of the beetle are holes in the leaves and they weaken the flowers too. This beetle is often seen in pairs resting on the plants, and they fall quickly when disturbed, (only to come back when you have turned your back!). It is best to crush them on the ground as quickly as possible.

Cutting Guide : If your can part these beauties from your garden for internal decoration; cut two and put them in separate vases at either end of the table as the beauty of the flower is lost when clustered with another one.  Many are highly fragrant, when my window is open the fragrance of the yellow one in the picture travels right into my front room. Let the stem die down naturally; mark its place so that you should not damage the bulb during the winter. They are fully hardy and next spring they should emerge once again, stronger and bigger!

A bunch of flowers usually consists of a few stems of flowers with a few green leaves to accent the colour of the flowers, but why bother cutting so many stems when you can fill a whole vase with just one flower stem ? It isn’t a flower that money can buy in the shops so you will have to grow it yourself! I never believed I could grow such a glamorous flower, but it really needs no special green fingers; just plant the bulb and it will grow on its own. If you like a tall flower and you find sunflowers too common place then this is your chance to have something different which has the added advantage of lasting from year to year.


Warning! DO NOT BUY:

Some supermarkets are now selling a new stock of bedding plants. Before buying I would make a serious calculation. – It is now the first week in August and these plants are so small it will take about 6 weeks before they flower. How many weeks of pleasure (if any), will we get out of them before they are killed by the first frosts???

Next Week:
Tips to ensure this years apple crop is the best ever.

Have an enjoyable gardening week!

Boris Legarni.

About The Author

Profile photo of Boris Legarni

Boris inherited his green fingers from his mother, who was still planting potatoes and rhubarb in the sixties as she was afraid that they would once again be rationed. As a teenager he used to plant radishes in the corner of the school garden and sell them during break time for sixpence, to give his classmates a healthy crunchy snack. He and his wife both have had an allotment for years, but there is no competition – he does the planting and she does the harvesting and cooking. With a passion for growing anything edible, Boris has planted dozens of named fruit trees in his orchard. Nevertheless he is an avid flower arranger, and assists local communities and charities with his flower arrangements. Boris tells us that after so many years on the allotment he has made all the mistakes possible, and he will share with you his practice to make yours perfect!

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