Lilies: Book Review and Giveaway

By Naomi Slade

Published by Pavilion Books

Hardback. 240 pages. Photographs by Georgianna Lane

Published May 2021. RRP £25

ISBN: 978-1-911663-00-3

Lilium African Queen. An outward-facing trumpet lily. Suitable for large pots, planting at the back of the border, and for cut flower gardens.

For many years, all down the sides of my greenhouse, I grew tall pots of lilies. My favourites were the towering, elegant trumpet lilies, African Queen. They grew to 5ft and produced masses of rich apricot flowers with rose garnet blush shades on the reverse of the petals. Stunning to look at, and the scent was equally wonderful. That spicy, heady scent drifted all around the orchard, wild flower meadow and up through the mini-woodland. Beautiful, intoxicating and memorable.

It was lovely to stand in the greenhouse and see the flowers reaching almost the roofline. A good background for my summer container display within the greenhouse where rows of scented pelargoniums lined up amongst the citrus trees.

African Queen is just one of the many varieties featured in Naomi Slade’s new book, Lilies. The book is written in the same style as Naomi’s 2018 publication, Dahlias. I wrote a review of Dahlias here : https://bramblegarden.com/2018/06/24/dahlias-beautiful-varieties-for-home-and-garden/

Naomi’s new book is a celebration of all kinds of lilies. There’s an introduction, a section on the history and botany of lilies, followed by detailed instructions on growing and caring for lilies. Advice is given on where to buy bulbs, how to prepare the soil and plant, and how to water, feed and deadhead lilies. There’s enough information for beginners to get started, and enough detail for more experienced gardeners to have a go at propagating and preparing lilies for shows. Everything you need to know to get the best out of these lovely summer bulbs.

The lilies chosen for in-depth study are split into sections; Elegant and Dainty, Wild and Wonderful, Fiery and Fabulous, and Majestic and Magnificent.

Mascara is a black Asiatic hybrid featured in the Fiery and Fabulous section. It grows to 1m with upward and outward-facing blooms. It will grown in any good garden soil and makes a stunning cut flower.

Helvetia is in the Elegant and Dainty section. Upward-facing with reflexed petals, these lilies grow to 1- 1.2m tall and are highly fragrant. Recommend for the front of a border and containers. Would make a wonderful cascading wedding bouquet.

Another very pretty white flower is Polar Star. I’ve grown this in pots many times. 25 bulbs in a large Italian terracotta pot makes a stunning summer display. These have large fully-double upward and outward-facing flowers and grows to 70-100cm tall. Very long lasting in a vase.

lilium leichtlinii is one I haven’t grown before. It is not that common in cultivation, says Naomi. But well worth seeking out. Small pendant flowers with reflexed petals, growing to 1-1.4m tall. Unscented. Suitable for a naturalistic garden. Sophisticated in a vase.

Another lily with swept back petals is Ariadne. This Turks cap type grows to 1.2-1.8m with small pale, dusty rose flowers. Good for the back of the border and set against a foil of dark foliage, or a contrasting painted surface. Could be used for cut flowers, but you’d need a tall vase.

Georgianna Lane is a leading floral, garden and travel photographer whose work has been widely published. She captures the timeless elegance and beauty of this summer garden favourite.

Naomi Slade is a well-known figure in the world of gardening media. She writes and broadcasts about horticulture, design, environment and lifestyle. Lilies is beautifully well-written. A book you’ll delve into time and time again, and it’s so full of joy it will make you smile every time.

The publishers have one copy to give away in a prize draw. Please leave a comment below and names will be put in a hat and a winner randomly selected next Sunday.

Thank you for reading my reviews and for taking the time to comment. The comment box is below the hashtags at the bottom of the page. Or click on ‘comments’ next to the title.

24 thoughts on “Lilies: Book Review and Giveaway

      • I wonder what the ingredients of this are, and if they vary between their different sprays (which did cast an eye over recently)? I have bought seem neem oil which I used on sawfly and did actually use some of the spare drench on the lilies. Now that the weather is set fair I could do with spraying all of them again, and perhaps hostas too, to see if that helps with prevention…

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  1. Lilies are ever so photogenic.

    I planted some from different pots I have had and they did me proud. However, this year I am not so sure what will happen, everything is so late peeping out because of the low temperatures. Also we haven’t been able to restore the planted area they were in that was badly hit by storms a couple of years ago. A variety of reasons have held back restoration, or perhaps, redesign. x

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    • They really are lovely to photograph. Yes, we are two to three weeks behind here too. So wet, windswept and now we’ve had hail the size of peas! The garden looks as if someone has gone round with a shotgun and made holes in all the leaves. Storms can be so destructive and hard work to remedy. Good luck with your garden.

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    • Thank you Philippa. There are some stunning and unusual varieties showcased in the book, and lots of expert tips on getting the best from them. Thanks for reading the blog. Good luck I’m the draw.

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  2. This book looks great, Karen. Lilium African Queen was one of the first I grew, and still a favourite. Nearly always have a vase of oriental lilies in the house. L.pardalinum used to do well in my border but gradually disappeared a few years ago (lily beetle, despite vigilance!). Trying L.leichtlinii this year.

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    • Thank you Mary. Lily beetle destroyed my African Queen pots. They were quite a sight for about 10 years, and then when the Lily beetles arrived, they were gone in two years. I’m now using an organic spray. I’m looking forward to seeing your L. Leichtlinii. It looks so beautiful in the book. Thanks again for reading the blog. Karen x

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  3. I do like your idea and scheme to review a book and giveaway a copy Karen. Does it work well in practice? Do you get a lot of response? Do you end up sending the book or does it come from the publisher? Thanks for the info.

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    • Hello Denzil, sorry for the delay replying. The publishers send out a catalogue at the start of the year and I ask for anything gardening related. I always ask for a spare copy to give away, and usually they oblige. Often they send two copies and then it costs £4 to post it to the winner, which is a small amount I think, as they are kind enough to read my blog. The only problems I’ve found is contacting the winner if they do not have a blog name. So I try not to let the competitions run on too long as they don’t always check back. I’ve been offered gardening tools and equipment too, and I’m looking in to that. It seems, if i can share my good fortune in being offered freebies, then I should. I use a google random name generator now instead of ‘names out of a hat.’ All the best. Karen

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    • Thank you Pauline. Me too. The dreaded lily beetle finished off my African Queen. I tried again the last two years and protected them with an organic spray which worked. I’m writing about the spray next on the blog. Thanks for reading. All the best. Karen

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    • Thank you Darran. I’ve always loved them too. It’s a very well written book, as usual with Naomi. Thanks for reading my blog. Good luck in the draw 👍

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