Auratum lily time is a delight, a joy even. Showy, over the top, flamboyant but glorious. And we are just entering these weeks of glory.
We grow lilies in the better lit areas of woodland. They can get somewhat stretched reaching for the light so need more staking when not in full sun. I am rounding them up to limit the areas where we have them growing in order to make that seasonal staking task easier. But they certainly light up the woodland margins.
The new lily border has just opened its earliest flowers. These are the result of a determined and sustained effort to beat the pesky rabbits in spring. Last year, it was about even stevens with the rabbits taking close to half of them. This year, we are almost at 100% reaching for the sky. Blood and bone works as a deterrent. So much promise of lilies to open in the next week. You will just have to imagine the glory of a border getting on towards fifty square metres of auratum lilies. The fragrance matches the blooms – strong, sweet and almost overpowering. None of this would have been possible or affordable were it not for Mark who is skilled both in pollinating good parent plants and then raising the seed to planting-out grade. Nor indeed were it not for my efforts in getting the planting out done on this new border. Being full sun, there is not much staking required in this area.
Almost all of ours are unnamed hybrids raised by father and son – first Felix and now Mark. Felix named a few that we used to sell but they are pretty mixed in the garden now. All are outward facing, not upward facing. That was one of the breeding aims. Upward facing lilies act as leaf and debris catchers and weather-mark badly.
Of them all, I think these soft, marshmallow pink ones of Mark’s raising may be my favourite. Or it could be another one in a few days’ time.
Finally, just in case there are any lily experts reading this: I assumed these trumpet lilies elsewhere in the garden are an unusual, honey-coloured L. regale. Mark assumed they were Aurelians, based on their finer foliage. Neither of us know where they came from so at this stage, we are assuming they are chance seedlings. They are very beautiful and I will move them to a prime spot in full sun but if anybody has more knowledge about lilies than we have, please tell us your theory on their likely classification.