Saturday, 23 February 2013

Cardiocrinum giganteum - The slumbering giant.

We are in the middle of another cold snap just now, for the last week or so temperatures have hovered around freezing day and night, there have been one or two sprinklings of snow and, apart from a couple of sunny days, it has been overcast. Walking round the garden on the hard ground one can spot the stirrings of many bulbs and herbaceous perennials but non inspire more than the sight of some heavy duty crowns of Cardiocrinum giganteum emerging with the promise of flowers in late June. Last year was the first time in the last seven when no flowers emerged as the offshoot bulbs had not attained flowering size, the flowering bulbs having died after they have done their work.

Cardiocrinum giganteum (syn. Lilium giganteum)
  A member of the Liliaceae Family probably deriving its name from the Greek cardio = heart from the shape of the leaves and crinum - lily. A heavy feeder, this giant Himalayan lily thrives in the semi shade at the edge of woodland. The leaves are very susceptible to slug damage and now of course the ubiquitous lily beetle which I either poison or crush. The gloriously powerful scent can be detected from a distance especially on a warm evening of which we seem to have had so few in recent years.

Propagation can be from autumn sown seed the plants taking around six years to flower. Offsets can be removed from the side of the flowering crown which dies in October and grown on or left to develop in situ giving an element of naturalisation. 

In this month's RHS magazine I was interested to read about the new temperature guide to RHS hardiness ratings, all very interesting. The article made it clear that the RHS were going all out for the retailers to publicise the guide to the general public to encourage better understanding. Good luck with that then!

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