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Welcome to our Head Gardener’s Journal

In this monthly column, we will share technical aspects of our work and also keep you up to date about ongoing projects. If there is any topic you might want to hear more about, please ask during your next visit!


Lilies are great plants for the middle of summer. Their towering habit makes them eye catchers in any border. Because of their strong features, we use them mainly in the Kitchen Garden where they provide a striking contrast to the ripening produce and add drama to the display. They thrive in our heavy clay soil, and we make sure they get enough moisture. Some varieties grow to a height of over 2 metres, which means that they occasionally need a gentle hand propping them up. We only use Turks cap shape lilies, not oriental types as we find them more elegant. Here are our favourites:

Lilium leichtlinii. A species from Japan with deep green leaves carrying yellow brown-spotted flowers. It makes a great combination with Crocosmia ‘Hellfire’.
Lilium ‘Lady Alice’. Blends of white, yellow and green with a cream centre and delicate speckles toward the throat. This variety is fragrant.
Lilium speciosum ‘Black Beauty’. Blackish-red flowers with green centres and white margins. Looks stunning in our sunrise borders where it is grown with Clematis viticella ‘Emilia Plater’
Lilium pardalinum. Also known as the leopard lily or panther lily, is a native to Oregon, California. It usually grows in damp areas which makes it the ideal plant for the north facing border in the back of the Kitchen Garden. It is the first of our lilies to flower.
Lilium henryi. Also called the tiger lily, this is a native of the mountains of central China. The flowers are orange, spotted black, and unscented. An ideal variety for our sunset borders.

One caveat about lilies is that all parts of the plants are poisonous for cats.