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The first of my unknown lilies opened today:


I acquired them a few years ago after I complained to a mail order plant company about some rather shoddy fuchsias I’d received, and they sent me 3 free lily bulbs by way of apology.

They didn’t do anything in the first season, but after overwintering in an 18″ pot, they shot up the next spring and bore several blooms each that summer. They’ve since been getting taller each year and multiplying (I now have 6!) so they’ve proven to be a rather nice freebie!

There was no information with them so I don’t know what they are, but I do know that they grow about 5 foot tall, have a gorgeous, heady scent and are a pollen-free variety – the flowers never fully open through the life of the bloom, so the anthers always remain covered. Aesthetically, this might not be to everyone’s taste, but it’s certainly less messy!

As for culture, I don’t do a lot really. In autumn, every couple of years, I re-pot into fresh multipurpose compost, then I leave them out all winter with no kind of protection (they seem to be tough as old boots!). From late March, or whenever they start into growth, I begin weekly feeding with Miracle Gro, switching to Tomorite or Phostrogen in June to promote flowering. Water as needed, and that’s it…job’s a good ‘un!

The one drawback is, in this part of the country, the dreaded scarlet lily beetle, but as I keep the plants all together in one pot that is accessible from all angles, I find they’re fairly easy to control. As long as I inspect them every day, especially in early summer when the beetle is most prevalent, I can keep damage to very low levels.

Rose sawfly, on the other hand, is another story.

This year seems to have been very bad for them in my garden, not helped by the fact that I tend not to notice the activity of their dastardly larvae until a fair few leaves have been munched: they’ve taken a particularly bad toll of my climbing roses because I can’t reach the shoot tips to remove the little blighters! Pfft.

Slug and snail depredation hasn’t been as bad as expected after the immense amounts of rain that fell over winter and spring, but they’ve still managed to decimate my large-leaved hosta that I grow in a pot on the patio (I think it’s “Frances Williams”, but I’m not certain). I pellet it, but they laugh at my efforts and keep right on making lacework out of every leaf that dares unfurl.

I need to borrow a chicken…