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Garden Tales: The Lily

Updated on June 15, 2013




Lilies are scene stealers. Wherever they are planted they will grab the garden visitor’s eye. If you are seeking fragrance, form and colour then the lily is your choice.

They look great at the back of a border or standing alone in clumps. There is a large variety to choose from and the gardener can find one or many to suit their site. Lilies are not difficult to grow and the reward they give those who plant them goes far beyond the minimal labour and time invested.

The genus Lilium are herbaceous flowering plants that usually grow growing from bulbs but can it is possible to grow them from seed. Liliacae, or the lily family has There are approximately 110 species. So you can see that there really is much to choose from for your garden.

The lily makes an excellent cut flower and will brighten a hallway or side board, in a small vase alone or arranged with other flowers.

The pink stargazer is a personal favourite. A few years back, I decided to try an experiment. One of the numerous things I enjoy about gardening is the fun you can have trying different ideas. My plan was to grow a stargazer indoors in my living room. We had a window alcove that received ample light and as the room was already a plant haven, I just had to know. So I planted three.

All three reached a height of approximately four feet and all bloomed. The fragrance was magnificent, for a time, that is, after three days of 24 hour perfume, it was getting a bit much and the amount of pollen these beauties produced was truly amazing.

They had to go. We’d wake up in the middle of the night choking and one look from my wife said it all, bye, bye stargazers.

The lily has been around for millennia and dates back more than 3,000 years. It was not until the 1500s that other varieties besides the Madonna lily became known

The Chinese were among the early growers. Lily in Chinese is said to mean “forever in love”. I do like the sound of that as it makes the lily a truly romantic flower. To the Assyrians the lily was a holy flower.

The lily, in Greek poetry, stands for tenderness. The lily has been said to be the voice of the muse and there is a Greek myth that tells us how the lily was born from the milk of the goddess Hera. To Christians the lily symbolizes pure love.

If you are owned by a cat, beware, cats and lilies do not get along as the lily is toxic to our feline companions.

So toxic that a cat will suffer if even a small amount is consumed so if you have cats, no lilies.

Lilies are reputed to have medicinal properties for humans.

Growing Lilies:

Lilies are a good container plant and thus ideal for a patio or small space garden. For best results, plant single large bulbs (10-12cm/4-5in diameter) in 20-23cm (8-9in) pots, or you can plant three to four smaller bulbs (5-8cm/2-3in diameter) in 23-25cm (9-10in) pots. Be sure to allow 5cm (2in) between bulbs. You will need deep pots to grow lilies.

If you are looking to add curb appeal to yoru property two or three lilies in a stylish container near the front entrance of your house will enhance the visitor’s first impression.

Lilies are from one of three distinct classes and are divided according to color range, period of bloom, hardiness, and orientation of the flowers. The different classes can be combined in the same in the same plot but it is always a good idea to know what you have.

The three varieties are Asiatic hybrid lilies, Oriental hybrid lilies and species lilies. The species lily is the hardiest and is hardy to zone 3.

I’d like to hear your lily stories.



Submit a Comment
  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    9 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks and thanks for dropping by.

  • annother profile image


    9 years ago from East Coast, US

    Lilies are one of my favorite flowers. I enjoy having a spot in the garden just for a mixed variety of them, though I was not aware that they were toxic to cats. Great hub.


  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Lilies can be very proflific if they like where they are. Thanks for the visit.

  • moonlake profile image


    10 years ago from America

    Interesting I didn't know that about cats we have 4 and a yard full of lilies. I couldn't get rid of the lilies if I wanted to their every place in the yard. When we bought this place it was full of wild lilies they come up everywhere.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    lilies are a majestic plant, thanks, I am having fun with this series.

  • marisuewrites profile image


    10 years ago from USA

    I adore the beautifully formed stunning...and I love the "garden Tales...." great series...

  • C.S.Alexis profile image


    10 years ago from NW Indiana


    I will watch for the hub on Sedums and waiting with anticipation. Thanks! C.S.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    That is impessive Dottie, lilies are indeed enduring.

  • Dottie1 profile image


    10 years ago from MA, USA

    I have lillies in my garden that my grandmother planted when it was her house. I've lived in this house for 23 years and those lillies still come up year after year.

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks C.S. happy you like the Tales, as to sedums, stay tuned.

  • C.S.Alexis profile image


    10 years ago from NW Indiana

    Love your Garden Tales. Do you know much about Sedums, of the orpine family, commonly known as Stonecrop? Maybe you could write something if you do. Whatever you write, these Tales are interesting. C.S. Alexis

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    It is vital information for the cat and the person the cat owns, thanks for stopping by.

  • Juliet Christie profile image

    Juliet Christie Murray 

    10 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

    Nice to know about the Lilly and cats. Lilies are so beautiful

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    Thanks patty, as a kid around 8-10 we had a cottage on a lake one of the bays of that lake was full of water lilies, I used to take the canoe into it and sit and watch them and all the life they attracted.

  • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish MS 

    10 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

    This is a beautiful Hub and I am glad to know the info about medicinal purposes for lilies now. A while ago, A couple of hours ago I drove past a pond that was full of water lillies and had to pull over and look at them for a while.

    Definite thumbs up!

  • Bob Ewing profile imageAUTHOR

    Bob Ewing 

    10 years ago from New Brunswick

    They have a powerful fragrance, thanks for visiting.

  • koncling profile image


    10 years ago from Nice Winding Room

    Lily is such a beauty flower.....and i love their smell..


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