LILIES, too, should have a book for them-selves. My knowledge of them is slight. Lilium auratum (Auratum Lily), the grandest of all Lilies, disappears after a few years. If large-sized bulbs are bought there will be the first year from twenty to thirty Lilies on a stalk four feet high, the second year seven to ten, the third year perhaps two or three, but oftener none at all. If you then dig for the bulb, lo! it is gone. The expense, therefore, of these Lilies is great, from their having to be often renewed. Still, do not fail to have them, if possible, for nothing can take their place. They bloom from the middle of July for about a month. I wrote to an authority on Lilies to ask the cause of this disappearance. He told me that, as soon as planted in this country, a microbe disease attacked them and they gradually disappeared under its ravages. Botanists surely should find a specific, or antidote for this; but perhaps, like some of the most terrible diseases of the human being, it evades all research. Miss Jekyll, in her book on Lilies for English Gardens, in speaking of Lilium auratum says:
"This grand Lily, well planted, and left alone for three years, will probably then be at its best. After this the bulbs will be likely to have increased so much that it will be well to divide them."
This would seem to imply that the Aura-turns thrive in England. Well, they have climate in England, even if we have weather, and English gardens will always fill American gardeners with despair.
Lilium candidum, which blooms before the other Lilies, is hardy and fragrant and increases rapidly. These Lilies must have full sun and light soil. About every three or four years they can be separated, which should be done as soon as the stalks turn yellow, as the bulb makes an autumn growth. For this reason the Candidums must always be bought and planted by the tenth of September. Other Lilies may be planted in the spring, when the frost leaves the ground, or in October.
Lilium speciosum rubrum thrives and increases in our climate, needs a partly shaded location and, therefore, does well when planted among Rhododendrons. It blooms after the Auratum, the end of August and first two weeks of September.
Lilium speciosum album blooms at the same time as Lilium rubrum. It is a beautiful pure white Lily with wax-like curved petals, grows best in full sun, and averages six Lilies on a stalk, although I have often counted more.
Lilium longiflorum blooms early in July. These lilies are very much like the Bermuda Lily, except that they have, as a rule, about four blossoms on a stalk, and are hardy. In my garden they have not increased. Hansom, a Japanese Lily, flowering in June; bright yellow in color; perfectly hardy and very desirable.
Lilium Canadense (the Meadow Lily), yellow, red and orange, increases, and is very satisfactory, but likes as moist a situation as possible.
Tigrinum, the old Tiger Lilies, both single and double. These bloom in July, increase rapidly, and by planting, when fully ripened, the little black bulbils which form on the stalk, any number of bulbs can be raised.
Funkia subcordata is the old-fashioned white Day Lily of our grandmothers' gardens. The broad leaves of this plant are almost as handsome as the spikes of bloom. These Lilies flower best when grown in the sun, but then the leaves turn yellow - so give them a partly shaded place.
Funkia coerulea, with the blue blossom, is worthy of a place in the garden, though far from being as effective as the white-flowered variety. I also grow the kind with the small white and green variegated leaves for the sake of the foliage, so useful in house decoration.
Funkias are not, botanically speaking, Lilies, but are mentioned in this chapter because popularly known as Day Lilies and on account of the lily-like form of their blossoms.
Lily-of-the-valley should have a place in every garden. Absolutely hardy, requiring no care, it blooms prohfically in early May, fills the air with its fragrance, and is beloved by every one. The German name for this flower, Mai Glocken (May Bells) is particularly appropriate. 1 have heard of one woman whose bed of these flowers, four feet by fifty feet, has yielded as many as twenty thousand sprays in one season. The pips can be set out the end of October or the beginning of November. If the bed is quite large, when the Lilies have finished blooming, some can be lifted here and there and transplanted. As the pips increase rapidly, their places will soon be filled. Lilies -of-the-valley do best in a partially shaded place, and require a deep, rich soil, well mixed with leaf-mould.
A Lily bed should be prepared, if the place is damp and drainage not good, by digging out the soil for three feet, and putting a foot of cobblestones in the bottom; then fill up with a mixture of good soil, leaf-mould and sand, and very old, well-rotted manure. In the ordinary garden that is not wet, two feet are enough to dig out the bed, and the cobblestones can be omitted. Lilies should always be set with a handful of sand around the bulb, to prevent any possibility of manure coming in contact with it, as the manure will destroy the bulb.
In my garden there is no special place prepared for the Lilies, but they are grown in all the borders, the Rubrums in the shade, the others in the sun, and this year there have been thousands of them. If there are no woods near, where the men can gather leaf-mould, have the rakings of the autumn leaves put in a pile, cover with boards, and occasionally during the spring and summer have them well forked over; the next autumn there will be a quantity of the finest thing for Lilies, Rhododendrons, Ferns, or indeed any kind of plant. This should be mixed in a pile in the proportion of one wheelbarrow of mould, two of good soil, two coal-scuttle-fiils of wood ashes, one-half barrow of old manure and two spadefuls of fine bone-meal. There is also nothing better for the Roses than some of this mixture.
Vase of Lilium auratum August second.
All Lilies do better if well mulched with clippings of lawn grass or with very old manure.
The varieties of Lilies mentioned are the easiest grown and the most satisfactory.
Lilies should always be planted in clumps of the same kind - never less than six, and the number increased according to the size of the garden. Alternate clumps of a dozen each of Lilium auratum and Lilium album planted in a border just behind Foxgloves and Canterbury Bells will come into bloom when these two biennials have finished, the Auratum first, then the Album; these four flowers will keep the border gay from early in June until the middle of September.
Lilies should be planted about eight inches deep, and have a covering of litter late in the autumn.
Vase of Lilium speciosum album and rubrun September sixth.