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Lilies







The Rose, like the Lily, is a general favorite. It has more than once disputed the claim of its rival to the title of Queen of Flowers, and though it has never succeeded in taking the place of the latter in the estimation of the average flower-lover, it occupies a position in the floral world that no other flower dare aspire to. This plant does well only in soils that have the best of drainage. Water, if allowed to stand about its roots in spring, will soon be the death of it. Therefore, in planting it be sure to choose a location that is naturally well drained, or provide artificial drainage that will make up for the lack of natural drainage. This is an item you cannot afford to overlook if you want to grow the finest varieties of Lilies in your garden. Some of our native Lilies grow on low lands, and do well there, but none of the choicer kinds would long survive under such conditions. The probabilities are that if we planted them there we would never see anything more of them. The ideal soil for the Lily seems to be a fine loam. I have grown good ones, however, in a soil containing considerable clay and gravel. This was on a sidehill where drainage was perfect. Had the location been lower, or a level one, very likely the plants would not have done so well. The bulbs should be put into the ground as early in September as possible. On no account allow the bulbs to be exposed to the air. If you do, they will rapidly part with the moisture stored up in their scales, and this is their life-blood. It is a good plan to put a handful of clean, coarse sand about each bulb at planting-time. If barnyard manure is used,--and there is nothing better in the way of fertilizer for any bulb,--be sure that it is old and well rotted. On no account should fresh manure be allowed to come in contact with a Lily. If barnyard manure is not to be had, use bonemeal. Mix it well with the soil before putting the bulbs into it. Bulbs of ordinary size should be planted about eight inches below the surface. If in groups, about a foot apart. The best place for Lilies, so far as show goes, is among shrubbery, or in the border. Below I give a list of the best varieties for general cultivation, with a brief description of each: _Auratum_ (the Gold-Banded Lily).--Probably the most popular member of the family, though by no means the most beautiful. Flowers white, dotted with crimson, with a gold band running through each petal. _Speciosum album._--A beautiful pure-white variety. Deliciously fragrant. _Speciosum rubrum_ (the Crimson-Banded Lily).--Flowers white with a red band down each petal. _Brownsii._--A splendid variety. Flowers very large, and trumpet-shaped. Chocolate-purple outside, pure white within, with dark brown stamens that contrast finely with the whiteness of the inner part of the petals. _Tigrinum_ (Tiger Lily).--One of the hardiest of all Lilies. Flowers orange-red, spotted with brownish-black. This will succeed where none of the others will. Should be given a place in all gardens. _Superbum._--The finest of all our native Lilies. Orange flowers, spotted with purple. Often grows to a height of eight feet, therefore is well adapted to prominent positions in the border. While the Lily of the Valley is, strictly speaking, _not_ a Lily, it deserves mention here. It is one of the most beautiful flowers we grow, of the purest white, and with the most delightful fragrance, and foliage that admirably sets off the exquisite loveliness of its flowers. No garden that "lives up to its privileges" will be without it. It does best in a shady place. Almost any soil seems to suit it. It is very hardy. It spreads rapidly, sending up a flower-stalk from every "pip." When the ground becomes completely matted with it, it is well to go over the bed and cut out portions here and there. The roots thus cut away can be broken apart and used in the formation of new beds, of which there can hardly be too many. The roots of the old plants will soon fill the places from which these were taken, and the old bed will be all the better for its thinning-out. Coming so early in spring, we appreciate this most beautiful plant more than we do any flower of the later season. And no flower of any time can excel it in daintiness, purity, and sweetness.





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Previous: The Gladiolus



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