AN important thing to know about scent in the open garden is that there are relatively few plants whose perfume will hang on the air in such a way as to make you sniff in inquiry as you walk past.
Many things smell good when you push your nose into them, or crush them, or bring them into a warm room, but what I am experiencing this morning in this garden setting (I write in the open today) is only heavenly.
Beside me now stands a large pot of Lilium regale.
Overwhelmed by their heavenly perfume and the sheer size of their trumpet flowers, today, at least, I vote them my most favourite flower.
These (to my mind) are the most soothing of summer flowers and their perfume, in any plot, will uplift the gloomiest corner and bring joy to all who come across them.
A garden in midsummer should of course look delightful and smell delicious.
Flowers should captivate all the senses except taste, but even then, there are blooms which are truly edible.
In any garden, big or small, the Regale lily will be found gratifyingly easy to grow.
If space is at a premium (today’s gardens seem to grow smaller and smaller) they can be grown to perfection in pots or containers stood on deck, patio, or balcony.
Few plants will flower as well as these during June and July.
Use terracotta for preference, three bulbs to an eight-inch pot and cover them with at least four inches of commercial compost above the top of the bulbs.
This is important for these eye-catching lilies are both basal and stem rooting, and object to shallow planting.
In long, extended dry periods make sure they get sufficient moisture, and occasionally add a drop of liquid food based on seaweed ingredients.
Grown well, Regale lilies will flower for up to six weeks atop tall, sturdy stems of three to four feet.
When neglected by way of moisture shortage, flowering will be decidedly shorter, and the trumpet size noticeably reduced.
During the months outlined, on those long, warm evenings the Regale lily will be found the most soothing of flowers, for its perfume uplifts the spirit and tempers the mental state.
Their bouquet can promote the desire to secure more of these wondrous flowers and in this respect the species willingly delights.
If you collect the ripened seed pods during late August and sow the contents (without delay) in trays or containers, by September one will have large enough seedlings which can be transplanted into individual pots.
These will flower in their second summer and will honour you thereafter for a lifetime.