If you want to grow lilies in the garden they need partial shade rather than full sun and a well drained soil. When buying your bulbs do not choose the largest but go for the medium sized ones that are more likely to establish themselves. However if you are planting in a pot and growing for a showy flower the following year go for the bigger bulbs.
When purchased from a garden shop a lily bulb has all that it needs to throw up a fine flower that year but it also needs to be building the strength to do the same the following year. The bulbs would look fine in their brightly coloured packaging on the shelves but, if there for any length of time, would dry out and when they failed to flower in their second year many would dismiss them as fickle and difficult plants and would give up and try something else.
Today so much more is known, packaging is much improved and provided you buy lilies with strong healthy roots and feed it after flowering they will grow from strength to strength.
From the flamboyant white and magenta Stargazer lily to the elegant trumpet of the classic White Lily or the vibrant orange Asiatic Lily - there is one out there to suit every taste. Most have a delicious fragrance that fills the air with scents of summer.
Even if you have not got a garden, treat yourself every week or two to five or six stems of the most beautiful lily on earth. They last well in our centrally heated houses but it is important to cut an inch off the base of each stem and place in a tall vase with, for longer life. An aspirin in the water will help them to give pleasure for ten to fourteen days.
Col Iain A Ferguson LVO, OBE