Cover image for Lilies
McGeorge, Pamela, 1943-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Toronto : Firefly Books, [2004]

Physical Description:
96 pages : color illustrations ; 26 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Subject Term:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB413.L7 M382 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Beautiful, easy-to-grow cultivars.

For centuries, adventurous botanists risked their lives to gather exquisite specimens from remote, perilous locations. Fortunes were spent shipping the lilies back to royalty and collectors who treasured them. Lilies gained a reputation with gardeners for being difficult plants: fussy, sulky, prone to a lingering death. This characterization, thankfully, is coming to an end.

Today, new hybrids make growing lilies easier than ever. Advances in hybridization over the past 50 years have revolutionized how gardeners grow lilies. These new hybrids -- many created right here in North America -- are greatly improved in health, beauty and stamina.

Lilies introduces gardeners to these new cultivars that have captured the hearts and imagination of gardeners worldwide. The enormous diversity of these lily varieties is described in detail. The dazzling color photographs of lilies in full bloom help gardeners first to choose and then raise the cultivars best suited to their garden and climate.

This book features:

The lily's storied history that predates the pharaohs An extensive directory of lilies, complete with detailed growing instructions Instructions for growing lilies in cold climates Suggestions for dealing with bugs and pests A propagation guide

Gardeners love lilies but are often hesitant about growing them. This book makes cultivating lilies easy.

Author Notes

Pamela McGeorge is a writer, consultant, critic and tutor.

Russell McGeorge has been a full-time photographer for five years specializing in garden photography and landscapes.

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

In Lilies0 , the McGeorges efficiently demystify the diversity and celebrate the adaptability of the various hybrids that help make the genus Lilium so popular with both florists and gardeners. --Carol Haggas Copyright 2004 Booklist



Introduction Lilies. They have been immortalized in art, revered as religious symbols and sought after by plant hunters in dangerous locations. They have been collected, sometimes at great personal cost, shipped "home" to be wondered at, cosseted and in spite of loving care frequently killed. For while they excited the admiration of kings and collectors for centuries, they also gained a reputation with gardeners for being difficult plants -- fussy, sulky, prone to a lingering death. No longer. The image of lilies as garden plants has undergone a transformation -- a surprisingly recent one. Look back through history and it's not hard to find that enthusiasts have been tampering with the genes of tulips, irises, carnations and other so-called florists' flowers for centuries. Hybrids have burst into prominence with the radiance of comets and, in some cases, disappeared just as quickly. Bulbs have been bought and sold for enormous sums. Individual cultivars have created a brief fashion furor -- and all before the turn of the 20th century. But the revolution in lilies started only about 50 years ago, much of it thanks to the efforts of one man, Jan de Graaf, a commercial bulb grower in Oregon. He communicated with lily enthusiasts throughout the world, gathered around him a talented group of horticulturists and together they set about creating hybrids that surpassed in health and beauty any of the lilies that had come before. The result has been a succession of garden plants that has caught the imagination of gardeners across Europe, Asia and North America where lily species grow naturally, and in the Southern Hemisphere where they are all introduced. Interestingly, while the wealth of new hybrids has excited gardeners, it has also led to an enormous increase in the production of lilies sold as a cut flower. Commercial growers raise their crops under cover for 12 months of the year and the blooms are exported around the world to supply a voracious appetite for lilies -- whether for bridal bouquets, a simple vase of flowers in the home or for fashionable boutique decorations. A large part of their appeal for florists is their amazing variety. Styles change, colors go in and out of fashion but, whatever the trend, there is a lily for every occasion. This is similarly the case in the garden. Early in the season I'm entranced by the martagons. I love their Turk's cap flowers and find myself smiling at them. Then a little later it's Lilium nepalense that casts its spell. When it is in bloom, I think nothing can match its mysterious allure. But summer continues and I find a glorious tall pink Oriental hybrid to drool over in my garden. The love affair goes on and I haven't even mentioned the bright Asiatics that look so right in today's gardens where growers boldly mix all the fiery hues together. The sheer diversity of the genus, however, can lead to confusion. This book is for gardeners who love lilies and want to know more about how to look after them and what choices are available. It aims to familiarize readers with the often little-known species and clarify the differences between various divisions in the hybrids. The book also gives a brief history of how far lilies have come since the days when the Egyptian Pharaohs decreed that carvings of the Madonna lily should decorate their tombs. A list of suppliers is provided in Appendix II. Many publish their selections or catalogs on the Internet. As with most popular flowers, new lily hybrids are constantly appearing and suppliers can provide the most up-to-date information on which cultivars are available in any given season. Excerpted from Lilies by Pamela McGeorge All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Lilies Through the Ages
What Exactly Are Lilies?
Cultivation of Lilies
The Progenitors: Lily Species
Lilies for Today's World: The Hybrids
Planting Ideas
Lilies for Free: Propagation
Lilies on Display
Pest and Diseases
Appendix I Lilies in Cold Climates
Appendix II Sources of Lily Bulbs and Information