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H. Perennial & Old Fashioned Garden Plants & Flowers by John Wood
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Lilium Auratum - Hardy Perennial

Author: John Wood

Lilium Auratum - Hardy Perennials and Old Fashioned Flowers

Lilium Auratum Described.

Lilium Auratum - Golden-rayed or Japanese Lily; Nat. Ord. Liliaceæ.

This is a hardy Lily, and though this particular species is comparatively new to our English gardens, it belongs to a noble genus which has had a place in our ancestors' gardens for ages. It was long thought that this bulb from Japan could not endure our winters, and though it is proved to be perfectly hardy, there are yet many who only cultivate it indoors, and seem surprised when they see it in beds and borders, where it is allowed to remain year after year.

The flowers vary very much in size, from 5in. to 8in. across; the divisions are richly tinted (golden-rayed), beautifully spotted and reflexed; the stems, at the height of 3ft. to 6ft., are furnished with flowers, mostly about five to eight in number. Though the flowers appear delicate, it is surprising how well they stand out in the open garden. For beauty and effect this Lily is incomparable.

Much has been said about its culture, far more than need be put into practice. I have found the observance of three simple rules sufficient in order to have it in fine bloom year after year: First, begin with good sound bulbs, not over large. Second, plant them 9in. deep in sandy soil, and a moist situation, surrounding each bulb with half-a-spadeful of fine charcoal, which protects them from rot, canker, and (what I believe to be the chief cause of failure) the wireworm. Third, grow them where they will be sheltered from high winds; otherwise their long and top-heavy stems become wrenched, and the upper roots, above the bulbs, so torn that the current season's bloom is more or less damaged and root development checked.

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Lilium Auratum

To put my simple method of growing this Lily in a plainer way, I may state that my garden is naturally well drained, has light soil, and a south aspect. Under a west wall I planted small bulbs in the manner already stated, and though I have often seen this Lily nearly twice as tall as ever I grew it, I have not any cause to complain about the quantity of bloom. I never either water or put down stakes as supports. If the situation is moist no water is needed, and it is next to impossible to send down stakes without coming in contact with the large bulbs. Doubtless a few good waterings with liquid manure would be an advantage, but where L. auratum is esteemed as satisfactory with short stems, this need not be given.

When once a clump or batch of this Lily has become established, it should not be disturbed for several years, when, if the stems are becoming too rank to allow them to wave without damaging each other's flowers, or if there are many young unflowered stems, they may profitably be dug out in a careful manner when the bulbs have ripened, which will be the case when the tops have become thoroughly dry; there will then be found to be numbers of nice clean young bulbs, which, with a year's extra patience, will probably form a more vigorous batch than the parent one. Such bulbs are properly called "home grown."

Flowering period, September to November.


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