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Gardener's Notebook: Longer days encouraging

Time to delve into seed catalogues
lily 0
The lily is always a popular garden choice. (File Photo)

YORKTON - Isn’t it great to see a noticeable length of days? Even though we’ve had a lot of cold, at least we can dream of spring coming because the days are getting longer.

Now when we look at our seed catalogues, we can actually imagine the gardening season ahead. Doesn’t each and every item in the seed catalogues look beautiful? Especially showy are the pictures of the various kinds of lilies, which brings to mind a question that someone asked me not that long ago: what is the difference between oriental and Asiatic lilies? Is there a difference?

Yes, there is, and here is what my homework taught me. Oriental lilies are hybrids that comes from Japanese species of lilies, while Asiatic lilies originally called Asia home.

At a glance, the flowers look similar, but there is a difference. Oriental lilies usually come in pink, white or yellow, and the blooms are larger. And these are the lilies that have the intense fragrance (think of Stargazer or Casa Blanca varieties). They are stunning, yes, but the strong fragrance can be a little much for many gardeners. The leaves on oriental lilies are rounder, and more thinly spaced on the long stems.

Meanwhile, Asiatic lilies have no fragrance. But they surely do pack a punch with color, coming in almost every color and every intensity. Blooming on sturdy stems with long, narrow glossy leaves, we can find delicate pastel colors of ivories, pinks or peaches or bright and bold shades of burgundy, purples and oranges; there is a variety for every taste! A dear gardening friend has a long border of lilies, and when they are blooming in the spring, they are absolutely a knock-out! Each and every one is beautiful.

Oriental lilies grow to height varying from two to six feet. If you have ever seen “tree lilies”, they will be some variety of oriental lilies. They blooms give us a show starting in mid-summer.

Asiatics, on the other hand, usually grow to a height of three feet or so, and they bloom

In the spring. Flower duration depends on the weather; intense heat or dry or rainy spells can definitely affect how long the lily show continues.

Both types of lilies can be divided every four or five years. Till then, they are very care-free plants. They like well-draining soil and full sun but are not overly fussy about the type of soil.

Do not crowd them: they will grow better and give a better show if they have space around them.

For perennial pops of color in our gardens, the lily family does not disappoint! You might have also heard of martagon lilies: a familiar garden friend but with a unique look. Martagon lilies tend to face downwards, not the usual trumpets looking up like we think of when we think “lilies”. Their petals curl up (or down, depending how you look at it) and there can be as many as two dozen blooms or more on a stem. They come in a wide variety of colors and can stand a bit more shade than the Asiatic or oriental lilies. They don’t care for very dry soil. These lilies will be a conversation starter in any garden! See what’s happening with the Yorkton hort society by visiting us at

As with many groups, our meetings are on hold at this time, but we still have interesting information on our website. Check it out!

Thank you to our friends at YTW for their great work each week.

Revitalize your garden spirit by browsing through a new seed catalogue and have a great week!

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