This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
- The bulbs of Lilies, the Crown Imperial, and a few other subjects, differ materially from those described above, being composed of loose fleshy scales, and consequently of a much more perishable nature. It follows, therefore, that they should not be kept out of the ground any longer than is absolutely necessary, and if only for a short time they should not be exposed to a drying wind or heat. On the other hand, they must not be moistened. Covered with almost dry sand or moss, they will take no harm for a week or two. But in all cases where practicable, they should be replanted without delay. The operation of transplanting and lifting to obtain the offsets may be done at any time in the autumn after the maturation of the old flower-stems. It is better to do this when the ground is not very wet, as it will work much freer, and be more favourable to the growth of the bulbs. A very few of the many gorgeous species are in general cultivation, but the introduction of many fine new ones within the last few years has been the means of bringing them into more prominent notice, and they are already becoming very popular. The species commonly seen, and requiring no particular skill in treatment, are the Orange Lily (Lilium bulbiferum), the White Lily (L. candidum), and the Tiger Lily (L. tigrinum), all very handsome hardy herbaceous plants, but by no means so showy as many of their congeners. The principal forms are described at some length under the Liliacese. All, or nearly all, are hardy in Britain, though some of them will scarcely attain perfection except in the warmer parts. A deep, well-drained, tolerably rich loamy soil suits them admirably, and the addition of good leaf-mould or peat, and sharp sand where a little stiff, is all that can be desired. A reference to the descriptive details at pp. 501-511 will give an idea of the many ways in which they may be employed to embellish the garden, either in the mixed border, or in special plantations devoted exclusively to the species of this genus.
The Crown Imperial is a noble plant in its different varieties, and will succeed best if treated generously, though it grows freely enough in ordinary garden soil.