What a strange year it has been. The meadow is flat and wet; the potatoes, onions and shallots rotted in the ground, and the courgettes barely grew before they got covered by mildew. The slugs ate everything else, even if they did move me to song.
But my lilies – oh, my lilies.
Most of them are in pots and have been for years, but I did decide that some would be happier in the ground and moved them into the small bed around my sundial, where they flourish. They’re a bit shorter than the others (wait for it), but they do seem to like it.
And yes, I’ve still got a sundial, despite being assured by a writer in a current gardening magazine that ‘no one has sundials any more’. (They don’t have urns either, apparently. I’ve news for her.)
When I say ‘shorter’, I mean they’re about 3 feet or so, maybe a little less. Not that short, really. I do have a candidate for the tallest lily in Britain this year, and it’s not a Cardiocrinum, it’s just an ordinary Oriental hybrid. It’s as tall as my door – and that’s over 6 foot.
Its friend – the one in the foreground above; Big Boy can just be glimpsed in the background – is almost the same height as me, but then I am only 5 foot. Still, no slouch for a lily. I had to move the pots into the relative shelter of the porch recently when we had terrible winds; not surprisingly the pots are a little, um, top heavy, and they blew over. Happily I heard them go – it was 5.30 am, and I had just been woken up by the recycling guys – and was able to affect a rescue in my jim-jams before they blew around too much and broke. I always, but always, forget to consider this possibility. It’s not the first time I’ve been fiddling around in the garden in my pyjamas at an ungodly hour, staggering about in the teeth of a howling gale with great big pots in my arms. Fortunately I don’t think my neighbours would film me and post the evidence on YouTube, but you never know…
Anyway, the overloaded pots are now by the back door (no one uses the front door, after all, and this time I’m not being ironic), and can be smelled before you even open the gate. Plus they’re comparatively sheltered. And I have been able to tie Big Boy to a down pipe. Hopefully it will now stay where it is…
It’s good to be greeted by their magnificent flowers. This is BB’s friend,
and this is Big Boy:
They’re not actually called that, of course.
Unfortunately I haven’t a clue what either of them actually are, or indeed what any of them are, and this time it’s not down to my usual dilatory approach to recording purchases. I genuinely don’t know. Not because they were gifts or sudden anonymous donations, but because they were added extras.
For several years one large seed company had a special offer – spend XXX and get YYY free. On a few occasions the YYY was lilies and I could never resist, but they never ever came with a label. Or, indeed, any indication of colour, which has led to the odd confusion:
which I keep meaning to sort out. I’d like more of all of these, but then I’d like even more lilies, full stop. However, I do realise that I have got plenty, thank you very much, and I really, really really don’t need any more. No matter how entertaining it might be for the neighbours when the pots blow over.
I’m particularly fond of the colours of the one on the right, by the way – individually. I’m not sure about them in combination:
I love the lime green in the centre. It’s normal for many lilies, of course, but it seems more emphatic here with the primrose yellow. Even so, you barely notice it until you really look, and yet it’s quite a shocking contrast with the dinky pink as well. This particular lily makes me think of ice lollies and little girls’ bedrooms. Right, that’s it – this year I am going to sort out this pot.
One last gem, another of the sundial lilies, but slightly paler:
Who cares about the shallots?
And now it’s raining – sorry, that should really be it’s RAINING – and they’ll all look a bit ratty in the morning. Sigh.
And I am not buying any more lilies. Not one. Not even if they are ‘free’…